Borders schools to be shut in bid to curb spread of Covid-19

Schools are to be shut across the Borders from this Friday, March 20, as part of the latest package of measures announced by government and council chiefs to help keep the spread of coronavirus under control.

By Darin Hutson
Wednesday, 18th March 2020, 6:05 pm
Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon at a briefing in Edinburgh today. (Photo by Andy Buchanan/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon at a briefing in Edinburgh today. (Photo by Andy Buchanan/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Scottish Government first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced at a briefing in Edinburgh today, March 18, that all the country’s schools would be closed at the end of this week as the number of cases of Covid-19 diagnosed nationwide continues to rise.

No indication is being given as to when they are likely to reopen, though further details of arrangements are to be announced by education secretary John Swinney tomorrow, March 19.

Ms Sturgeon said: “This has been one of the hardest decisions we have faced so far as we tackle the coronavirus.

“Our expert scientific advisers are examining new advice that is very likely to tell us to close schools.

“We also know more and more schools are approaching a point where they have lost too many staff to continue as normal.

“At this stage, I cannot promise schools and nurseries will reopen after the Easter break.

“There will require to be a lot of local flexibility, and we are working closely with local authorities to put those arrangements in place.

“Teachers, school staff and those in the nursery sector will have a vital role in the weeks ahead, and we will work with you to minimise the impact on all our young people’s education, and in particular the most vulnerable groups.”

A Scottish Borders Council spokesperson added: “The first minister has announced that all schools and nurseries in Scotland are to close from Friday.

“We had not been made aware of this national decision in advance, but it is something we have been planning for locally as we continue to respond to the ongoing Covid-19 situation.

“We are planning for pupils to continue learning from home.

“We realise parents, pupils, staff and the wider public will have a number of questions in light of these developments and we will, of course, keep everyone up to date as more information is available.”

Borders College has already announced the suspension of classroom teaching at its Hawick and Galashiels campuses, as has Heriot-Watt University’s Galashiels school of textiles and design.