Scotland schools: Five ways schools are keeping you safe

Last updated at 05:12
Nicola Sturgeon at West Calder HighReuters
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited West Calder High School on Monday to see for herself the preparations

Children in Scotland will begin to return for the new school year today.

Scotland's first Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that all schools and nurseries in the country had to close back in March to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Schools have now reopened following the summer holidays and lots of pupils will begin their new school year today.

The reopening of schools is phased, which means not all students will be starting school again at the same time. More children will be going back to their schools throughout the week, but Ms Sturgeon has said all pupils are expected to be back in school full-time by the 18 August "at the very latest".

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Pupils' return to the classroom will look a little different this term. That's because schools have been putting important measures in place to ensure all children remain safe while they learn.

So what changes can students expect? Read on to find out more.

Pupils and staff will need to clean their hands more often
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How to wash your hands

Lots of people have been washing their hands more regularly over the last few months and this practice will extend to schools in Scotland.

Children and staff will have to wash their hands or use hand sanitiser when they arrive at school, return from break and lunch times, change rooms and before they have their lunch.

Schools have had to make sure they have enough facilities so everyone can clean their hands when they need to.

Staff and older students will follow social distancing rules
Students in Scotland's secondary schools will be encouraged to social distance where possible

Under the Scottish government's new rules for schools, adults will have to social distance, keeping two metres from one another.

School staff will also have to physically distance from children and young people where possible, unless they're from the same household.

Secondary school pupils will also be encouraged to social distance, although they won't have to follow the strict two-metre rule where this isn't possible. Physical contact like hugging, high-fiving and hand shaking will be off limits.

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To help older student physically distance from one another, it's recommended that schools use all the available space in classrooms, libraries, halls and social spaces.

Some schools will have also made changes to class sizes and the layout of classrooms and desks to make social distancing easier to achieve.

Children in primary school don't have to keep their distance from one another.

Students will have to stay in specific groups
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Children will be kept in specific groups to help limit the spread of the virus

Both primary and secondary schools have to keep their pupils in the same groups throughout the day where possible.

This is to help reduce the risk of children and young people passing the virus onto one another.

If someone is found to have the virus, it will also means they can be identified quickly and easily, which will help limit the spread of the virus to other students and staff members.

Adults may need to wear face coverings if they can't social distance
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Some members of staff may have to wear face masks

The majority of children and young people won't be required to wear face coverings, although they can if they want to.

However, if an adult isn't able to keep a two-metre distance from a pupil they are talking to face-to-face for 15 minutes or more, they'll have to wear a face covering.

Some schools may have staggered start and finish times
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School start and finish times may look a little different this term

To avoid large groups gathering, some Scottish schools may have staggered start and finish times. This means pupils will be be given a specific time to arrive at school and to leave in the afternoon.

Some schools may also open up additional entrances and exits to help minimise the number of students in one location.

Parents dropping off children won't be allowed to enter school buildings.

Are you going back to school today? Do you have any concerns about what it'll be like? Let us know in the comments!

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