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Delayed return for schools as Sturgeon announces lockdown extension

On Tuesday afternoon, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced to MSPs the continuation of lockdown restrictions until at least the middle of February, delaying the return to in-school teaching for schoolchildren across Scotland. 

This announcement came following a cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning when ministers decided that the risk of community transmission was too great to allow schools to reopen before mid-February. 

Looking forward to next month, Ms Sturgeon said: 

“If it is at all possible, as I very much hope it will be, to begin even a phased return to in-school learning in mid-February, we will.”

Ms Sturgeon said that the lockdown and tier 4 restrictions, in place since 26th December 2020, were “beginning to have an impact” on the infection rate, but Scotland could not afford to ease restrictions at this time. 

She said: 

“We need to be realistic that any improvement we are seeing is down, at this stage, to the fact that we are staying at home and reducing our interactions.

“Any relaxation of lockdown while case numbers, even though they might be declining, nevertheless remain very high, could quickly send the situation into reverse.”

As Nicola Sturgeon stated last week, colleges and universities will not continue in-person teaching until the end of next month at the earliest. 

Students have been urged to stay at home and not return to their term-time accommodation. 

Lockdown measurements will come under government review again on 2 February.

This announcement was made on the same day as 1,165 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded by the Scottish government.

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