The Government is still working on ways to mitigate the challenges some parents will face when at-home learning becomes a key part of the reopening of schools, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
The Scottish Government plans to reopen schools on August 11, but with a combination of in-school teaching and at-home learning.
Asked how that will work for parents who cannot do their job at home, such as NHS workers, the First Minister said the Government wants to increase the number of spaces available at childcare “hubs”, which are currently offered to the children of key workers and the most vulnerable youngsters.
She stressed the Government is not going to be able to “take away all of the difficulties and challenges people will be facing”, and added: “None of this is going to be easy in the weeks and months to come, there is no point me trying to pretend otherwise.
“But we have worked our way through a lot of difficulties in the last three months and shown we can do things we never believed we could do.”
Speaking at the Scottish Government’s daily virus briefing, she added: “Subject to health advice, we have the agreement that teachers will go back to work in June to start working through what the next term looks like, and what this new model of learning will look like.
“Over the summer, we will be discussing with parents’ organisations, teacher organisations, unions, local authorities and employers about how we try to work in a way that tries to align all of the different things we’re doing well enough to mitigate these issues.
“We will communicate directly with all parents over the summer so that they’ve got a better understanding of exactly what schooling is going to look like and some of the support that we will try to put in place to help parents with the fact that it will not be back to school absolutely as normal.”
Education Secretary John Swinney earlier said employers will have to be “flexible” with parents whose children have to learn from home when schools return.
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland, Mr Swinney said: “Our route map is predicated on lots more people continuing to work from home to contribute towards the work of their employers.
“We are not going to return to a pre-Covid normal of how schools or businesses operate.
“What this will require is employers to be flexible about the way in which they’re asking their employees to engage in work.”
Asked about the logistics of the plan, Mr Swinney said he and the Economy Secretary are “wrestling with some of these questions with the First Minister, to make sure that business and education and other aspects of the community are working harmoniously as we adapt to what’s a really difficult situation”.