A trade body which represents education staff, has said more work needs to be done before children can return to childcare and north-east schools.
UNISON has responded to Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement that early years and childcare services will start to expand from Monday.
The body has stressed that it must be involved in local planning, to ensure the safe reopening of schools and early learning centres.
This would include implementing risk assessments, staff training and clear guidance on safe working practices.
Lorraine Thomson, chairwoman of UNISON’s education issues group, said: “Education staff can’t avoid close contact with children, especially young children.
“They change nappies, comfort children, give medicines, support children with disabilities, support children in the dining room and playground and classroom.
“The safety of all is vital and we need to all be properly prepared. Trade union involvement must be a reality on the ground.”
She added: “Staff have skills, they know their jobs and health and safety expertise.
“They must be included at the start of any local planning of expansion and reopening.
“Risk assessments and then action to mitigate risks need to be in place to ensure that children and staff are safe. This is no time for short cuts.”
UNISON voiced the steps which must be taken in the coming weeks, after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the easing of the lockdown yesterday.
The First Minister said: “From Monday teachers and staff can return to schools to prepare for their reopening.
“From next Wednesday childcare will be available to more people, for example vulnerable children and the children of key workers.
“Childminding services and fully outdoor nursery provision can start to reopen next Wednesday too, with guidance for child minders being issued from Monday.”