Teaching unions and council officials have moved to reassure families that the safety of pupils is a top priority in their back-to-school planning.
As schools prepare for a potential full-time return next month, teaching unions have been working alongside local councils to put measures in place that will enable all pupils to return to school.
And while Dundee EIS secretary David Baxter admits there’s still “work to be done”, he welcomed the safety-first approach of the authorities’ planning.
He said: “I think from all of this, it’s been quite interesting that the focus has been on safety. It’s been really good working with Dundee City Council with a shared aim to keep everyone safe.
“We’ve been looking at things like how do we keep delivering the education hub (for children of key workers) safely and keep the workforce safe. It’s probably one of the best bits of work we’ve done together.”
“I know in Tayside it’s looking like the first week back will be a transition week, getting pupils back into the buildings and reassuring them about what schools will look like going forward.”
Mr Baxter’s comments come after Education Secretary John Swinney announced that a final decision on schools returning full-time would not be made until next week.
Despite this, the Dundee EIS secretary is confident it will be given the go-ahead in the next announcement to be made on July 30.
He said: “I think the fact that the initial statements were made before the summer holiday, it was likely that we were going to be going back.
“Now, the situation could change next week but from the EIS’s perspective it has always been about making sure that we are safe and not just throwing us in because it’s convenient for getting the economy going.
“The difficulty in this situation is that everyone is looking for certainty in a very uncertain time but it’s important to look at the curriculum and learning and teaching again.”
Dundee City Council
Children and families service convener Stewart Hunter also reassured local families that everything is being done to ensure that city schools will be ready to open in August if the green light is given.
Mr Hunter said: “Preparations to reopen our schools are well under way and I am grateful to the deputy first minister for providing this latest update on how guidance is developing from scientific advice about coronavirus.
“This is extremely helpful for our efforts across Dundee to plan how pupils will return to the classroom, if it is safe to do so.
“I would like to thank all our staff who are working hard to ensure that these buildings can be ready to open their doors again. All schools have planning assumptions in place for a 100% return of pupils from August.”
The SNP councillor also emphasised the importance of focusing on the safety of staff when full-time teaching begins again and urged parents to look at the information being provided.
He added: “There will be a consistent approach to safety across Dundee working with our trade union colleagues and there will be measures taken in each school to achieve this for both pupils and staff.
“The city council will be providing ongoing information to families through its website and social media channels. We are also developing an updated FAQ section on our website to give as much clarity as possible over a range of issues including transport and school meals.
“Individual schools themselves will be in touch with families about the exact details of how the return will go ahead.”