More than 20,000 pupils will return to Angus, Dundee and Perthshire schools full-time for the first time this year on Monday.
As schools reopen after the Easter holidays, those in S1 to S6 will be required to wear face coverings inside school buildings and are being encouraged to take part in twice-weekly coronavirus testing.
Two-metre distancing requirements in place in secondary schools before the holidays – which limited numbers able to attend each day for the first three weeks of the phased return – have been scrapped.
However, families have been reminded of the safety measures in force to prevent the spread of Covid-19 when Tayside schools reopen, a week after those in Fife.
Many pupils are accustomed to wearing masks in class, with the level three guidance for S4-S6 issued last autumn being recommended for S1-S3 by Tayside schools.
But Scottish Government guidance has now been strengthened and states face coverings should be worn at all times by staff and young people in secondary schools – including S1-S3 learners – in classrooms, communal areas and when moving about the school.
Additionally, individual schools have put in place their own safety measures.
Dundee’s Harris Academy, for example, has designated four separate entrances for each of its house groups, recorded seating plans, and a staggered end to the school day.
Kinross High School also has separate entrances for year groups and will operate staggered break and lunch times and a one-way system in corridors.
We're excited to see pupils back in school full time after the Easter holidays! Check out our latest update for a reminder of the measures still in place to keep Kinross High School safe and open: https://t.co/S4I2QIIwSO
— Kinross High School (@KinrossHS) April 16, 2021
Perth and Kinross Council’s convener of lifelong learning said she knew first-hand how difficult the period of remote learning from January had been.
Councillor Caroline Shiers said: “I have a son who is in S1 so I know that for pupils like him, and indeed their families, it has been a long four months.
“I wish all our secondary pupils who are returning to in-school learning on Monday all the very best.
“I know that our staff have been preparing for this return and will do all they can to support those young people who have found lockdown difficult and for whom a return to the structure of an in-school day may be challenging.
“There will be safety measures in place throughout our schools and everything possible being done to mitigate any risks of virus transmission and I thank all those involved in ensuring our buildings are ready for the full return of pupils.”
Our schools return after the Easter holidays on Mon 19 April and there'll be a few changes to arrangements for pupils at secondary schools – watch our short animation for an overview. @PKCEducation pic.twitter.com/gAnupSLhx0
— Perth & Kinross Council (@PerthandKinross) April 16, 2021
Angus Council’s children and learning convener said he was happy to see pupils and teachers returning to schools fully at last.
Councillor Derek Wann said: “We want to get all our pupils back to some sort of normality but it’s very important that we observe all the rules that are in place in schools.”
Guidance issued by Angus Council asks all young people – except those who are exempt – to wear face coverings in secondary schools and on school transport.
We hope you are enjoying the last few days of the Easter hols🌞
We can’t wait to welcome the children back after the First Minister confirmed all pupils, unless shielding, will return on Monday 19 April.
— Angus Council (@AngusCouncil) April 15, 2021
Dundee City Council’s children and families convener urged city families to continue following rules designed to prevent spread of Covid-19.
Thanking school staff for “enormous effort” to prepare for the first day back, Councillor Stewart Hunter said: “This is a huge step forward for our secondary pupils and they will be excited to return to school full-time following long closures.
“Reopening demonstrates the progress that has been achieved and we must do all we can to protect that. We cannot be complacent.
“Families continue to have a vital role to play by sticking to the rules when they are dropping off and picking up at any of our nursery, primary and secondary schools.”
— Dundee City Council (@DundeeCouncil) April 15, 2021
Secondary school pupils returned part-time from March 15, the same day P4 to P7 pupils returned full-time.
Younger children in nurseries and P1 to P3 were back in school three weeks earlier.
Secondary school pupils who are shielding have been advised to remain at home until April 26.