EDUCATION Secretary John Swinney has indicated that staff and pupils who display Covid-19 symptoms could have “quick access to testing” as he warned that progress in suppressing the virus will need to continue before schools can fully re-open.

Mr Swinney will lay out more details on the Scottish Government’s plans to re-open schools in a statement to Holyrood on Thursday – with schools expected to welcome pupils again from August 11.

The Scottish Government’s education recovery group will meet twice this week and again next week ahead of a decision being made on July 30 as to whether schools can re-open on a full-time basis in three weeks.

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The Education Secretary said that Scotland is “making good progress towards our shared ambition of safely re-opening schools”.

He added: “I will make a more detailed statement to Parliament on Thursday during which I intend to provide clarity on the practical and logistical preparations that we are making for the school re-opening including on vital health protection measures.

“Those measures will include issues such as a surveillance programme, outbreak management protocols and quick access to testing for all symptomatic staff and pupils.

“Through implementing such measures and re-opening our schools, we can continue to address the impacts of the virus on the health and wellbeing, educational progress and attainment of our children and young people.”

But Mr Swinney warned that “we will only be able to open the schools if we continue to effectively suppress the virus”.

He added: “Every one of us has a critical role to play in this national mission be it as parents, carers, teachers or other essential parts of the school workforce.

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"If we find ourselves in a situation where we are not able to effectively suppress the virus, then the opening of schools is called into question.

"We're working very, very hard on all fronts to suppress the virus and to make sure we have all of the preparations in place for the restart of schools in August."

Urging the public to try to prevent the spread of the disease, he added: "I'm one of the strongest advocates of the importance of re-opening of schools.

"Re-opening of schools will be good for the wellbeing, for the educational opportunity and for the support for young people within our society.

"It's critical that we get schools open at the earliest possible opportunity, but it has to be done safely."