Dundee’s education leaders have promised the safety of all pupils is the top priority when looking at how city kids can get back to school.
Last week union bosses warned that “significant caution” should be taken before re-opening classrooms.
The general secretaries of 10 teaching unions co-signed a letter urging education bosses across the UK and Ireland to be wary of causing a “spike” in the transmission of the virus by prematurely opening schools.
But Stewart Hunter, Dundee City Council’s convener of children and families services, said the safety of pupils and staff was at the forefront of their minds.
“Any future decision on schools has to have this at the forefront of discussions,” he said.
“We want to reassure everyone that we are carefully thinking now about the way ahead.”
And he also praised the way in which schools and nurseries had risen to the challenge of the lockdown.
He added: “I have been hugely impressed by the creativity and enthusiasm that has been shown by all our nursery and school staff during the school closures.
“Through innovative and imaginative use of technology and online resources, as well as paper versions, they are keeping up learning and a sense of belonging. This is helping children and families get through these difficult times.
“The timetable change in secondary school will help give these young people a sense of momentum on their educational journey and I would like to thank everyone who has helped to make the arrangements and put them in place.
“I am aware that there is anxiety around what will be happening around exam results, but I would ask that everyone waits until the SQA completes its process around these matters. ”
The unions’ letter, which they said was on behalf of almost one million teachers and education staff, warned of the “very real risk of creating a spike in the transmission of the virus by a premature opening of schools”.
It calls for “the establishment of sufficient capacity to test trace and isolate the infection as a prerequisite for school reopening”.
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The letter also called for effective social distancing measures, stringent hygiene and cleansing measures, and sufficient personal protective equipment.
Stewart Hosie, the MP for Dundee East, suggested there could be returns for children in particular circumstances, such as those studying for exams, moving on to secondary school from primary school, and vulnerable children – but said the chances of a “general return” for all pupils in Scotland before August was almost certainly off the table.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Dundee City Council said: “Pupils from S3 onwards will be starting a new school year in a range of subjects, and teaching staff will also be getting in touch with young people to assist with the transition.
“This change demonstrates how learning and teaching in Dundee has transformed to meet the challenges posed by coronavirus closures.
“Schools are now using online resources and staff are working to help ensure as much continuity in young people’s learning as possible.
“From nurseries onwards, educational establishments are keeping families informed through Twitter feeds, which are showing them the huge range of educational assets that are available.”