SECONDARY pupils will need to wear face coverings in class until at least the October holidays, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
The First Minister said she knew the decision would be “unpopular” with many young people, but it remains a “prudent and necessary precaution”.
It came as she confirmed 12 to 15-year-olds will be offered one vaccine dose following advice from the UK’s chief medical officers.
Speaking in Holyrood, Ms Sturgeon said: “We are also continuing to work with local authorities to make schools and childcare centres as safe as possible – for example, though support for the use of carbon dioxide monitors and improved ventilation.
“We have also received further advice from the advisory sub-group on education, and I will highlight two points arising from that.
“First, we indicated at the start of term that secondary schools pupils would need to wear face coverings in class for the first six weeks of term, subject to a review at that point.
“Given the high levels of infection still being experienced, the advisory sub-group has advised that this requirement should remain in place until the October holidays, and be reviewed again then.
“I know how unpopular this is with many pupils and I understand why.
“But for now, it remains a prudent and necessary precaution.”
Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government will also “clarify an aspect of guidance on contact tracing in schools, to help ensure better understanding of the process”.
Updated guidance will now be provided in the information letters that schools are asked to send to staff and the parents of primary and secondary pupils when they are in low-risk contact with positive cases in schools.
These will now include a strengthened recommendation to take a lateral flow test before returning to school.
This is in addition to current advice for staff and secondary pupils to take a lateral flow test twice a week, a few days apart, and record the result before returning to the classroom.
There will be a continued requirement for staff to keep at least a metre distance from each other and from children and young people when they are at schools.