The Scottish Government has confirmed that schools will commence a phased reopening from Monday 22 February.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement in the Scottish Parliament during her Covid-19 update on Tuesday.
From next week, early learning and childcare will restart, as well as a return to full time education for P1 to P3 and a part time return for some senior pupils required to carry out practical work in secondary schools. However, the First Minister indicated that there is unlikely to be a return for other pupils for some time.
Colin Smyth said: “Parents and carers will welcome the news that a phased return looks set to begin for getting children back to school, although there will be frustration that there is still no timetable for when this return will go beyond P1 to 3 and a very small number of senior students.
“Children and young people have been missing their school friends and online learning is no substitute for being in school. It’s also frustrating that although more teachers will be back in school, the Scottish Government are still clueless over whether key workers such as school staff will be vaccinated anytime soon.
“As we approach the year anniversary of the first lockdown, I know many people are really struggling with living under constant restrictions and lockdowns.
“No-one will be shocked to hear that lockdown has been extended until at least the start of March and while we’ve made inroads into vaccinating people in Scotland after a slow start, it’s clear this virus will not be under control until vaccines are rolled out more widely.
“In the meantime, no matter how difficult it might seem, everyone should continue to abide by the rules and stay at home as much as they can.
“As we’ve seen in the past few months, this virus has the ability to spread at alarming rates and we must do all we can to help halt that spread.
“As most businesses remain closed, the Government also needs to get its act together to get better support companies who need it. It’s one thing for the Government to announce schemes and grants but so far many of those haven’t even opened for applications, never mind paid out to businesses.”