IF there is one catchphrase Nicola Sturgeon is famous for it is "I'm taking no lessons". Unfortunately, during the corona crisis, she has proved that indeed she does take no lessons from anyone. She didn't learn from her own pandemic report and stockpile PPE. She didn't learn from the care home tragedies in Italy and Spain, and went ahead to create a much worse tragedy in Scotland. And now she is not learning from China how to get children back into school as safely as possible.

In China all pupils and staff wear face masks. As they enter the school their temperature is taken and hands are sanitised. Hand sanitisers are used at regular intervals inside the classroom. Toilet facilities are disinfected throughout the day. In primary schools each class and its teacher form a bubble. They are in class together, they exercise together, they eat in their classrooms together. If anyone falls ill only a fixed group need to isolate.

In secondary schools S1 and S2 pupils remain in the same room and subject teachers come to them. The class is a bubble; the range of subjects is reduced to limit the number of teachers. For older year groups strict rules for moving around the school are enforced. Breaks and lunchtimes are spent in the register class bubble. No large group gatherings, either inside or outside. The key is strict hygiene and limiting social contact.

Education is too important to be left in this nebulous fog of indecision. It might be OK for the First Minister to take no lessons from anyone, but Scotland's young people need to.

Carole Ford, Glasgow.

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“BLENDED” schools appears to be this week’s euphemistic way of disguising the mediocre. Like blended whisky but this time damaging only the children. In work, when things got tough and people were apparently defeated by problems, my CEO’s mantra to ensure survival was “Find a Way”. To all educationalists currently underemployed, dare I suggest that nobody, even in the cosseted public sector, is owed a living. You have to earn it. You have to Find a Way to educate our children.

John Dunlop, Ayr.

PRIOR to lockdown, if you walked past any primary school or nursery at least 50 per cent of those who were picking up or dropping off children were in the over-60 age group.

Nowhere have I read or heard in the media any recognition that when schools do return it will be these people, one of the most vulnerable sections of society to the coronavirus that will be put at increased risk.

Many parents who have to return to work will have no option but to rely on their parents to do the school runs. This will inevitably put those individuals, who have probably spent the last 12 weeks minimising contact with others, at greater risk of catching the virus either through increased interaction with large groups of other people, or through closer contact with their grandkids, who will have been exposed to their friends and other school staff during school hours.

Nearly every grandparent throughout lockdown will have been desperate to spend more time with their grandkids, but most will have been sensible and followed the guidelines. Is it now right therefore not to consider them and what they have given up so far while there is still an expected "second wave" on the horizon?

Allan Coulter, Kilmarnock.

I AGREE with much of Iain Macwhirter's article on the reopening of schools ("Swinney school plan is not so much blended as half-baked", The Herald, June 17). Surely all regions don't have to follow the same rules? Dumfries and Galloway has an R value of 5.6 and only one patient in hospital today (June 18) with Covid. The chances of children catching the virus is very low and if they do, it will normally be with very mild symptoms. I can see no reason why schools can't open for a much longer period of time than John Swinney has been proposing.

Ivor Matheson, Dumfries.

IT is strange, and annoying, to see Iain Macwhirter promulgating incorrect information about teachers’ pay. Three years ago teachers were awarded a three-year pay deal, which gave them (roughly) 3.1 per cent each year for three years, not "a 10 per cent pay hike" last year, and this after some years of pay freeze.

Ruth Mackay, Kelso.

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I AM disappointed with the lack of clarity from the Education Secretary around the reopening of schools and the failure to ensure the young people are given the opportunity to return to school with confidence.

One of the suggestions is that some pupils attend on Monday and Tuesday with the other half attending on Thursday and Friday to permit deep cleans on Wednesday.

Why would we waste the valuable resource of a full day Wednesday for cleaning? I am not denying cleaning is essential to reduce risk of virus transmission, but why can this not be carried out with a back shift after the teaching day ends?

The young people are the future and decisions cannot be left to individual schools but must be a priority of the Government at this anxious time. Whether there is a financial cost or not, it should in no way be a barrier to making the best use of the schools and resources available to provide dedicated direct teaching time.

Alison Tait, Ayr.