Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 22nd December 2020.

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Photo of Patrick Harvie Patrick Harvie Green

Of course, I share the dismay that we all feel at the increasingly dangerous situation. It seems clear that, if the new strain is established and growing in Scotland, much of the country must be prepared to deal with a heightened threat over the months ahead, not just the weeks ahead.

As the First Minister said, it remains an open question whether the new strain could be more infectious in children and young people. The Greens have consistently backed measures to improve safety in schools, and we welcome the announcement of the delay to the new term. We all want to keep schools open, but not at all costs.

Does the First Minister recognise that many teachers and school staff already feel that their safety has not been prioritised during the pandemic and that, at the very least, their call for widespread routine testing should be accepted? How does the First Minister respond to the recent comments by the Educational Institute of Scotland that moving back to level 4 should result in the Government considering

“moves toward blended or remote learning” and that

“Schools cannot stay open at any cost; the safety of pupils and staff has to be the priority”?

Can the First Minister update the Parliament on the action that is being taken to protect vulnerable teachers when schools finally return?