EDUCATION Secretary John Swinney has insisted guidelines for schools re-opening will keep staff and pupils safe but admitted he understands the “anxiety” teachers will have over returning to work.

Yesterday, Nicola Sturgeon announced that schools will re-open on a full-time basis from August 11, with all pupils returning by August 18 “at the latest”.

Alongside the announcement, the Scottish Government published guidelines to ensure safety, which were drawn up in consultation with local authorities and unions.

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The rules include that “two-metre physical distancing should be maintained between adults and adults and adults and children/young people who are not from the same household, wherever possible” - while teachers should wear a face covering if they are unable to remain two metres apart from others for a “sustained period”.

Schools have been told to take “a rigorous approach to environmental cleaning” and “consideration should be given to limiting the extent to which pupil belongings are brought into school” - while windows and doors could be left open to improve ventilation.

School staff will not have to wear PPE for routine tasks but "gloves, aprons and a fluid-resistant surgical mask should be worn by staff if a child or young person becomes unwell with symptoms of Covid-19 and needs direct personal care".

Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme, Mr Swinney acknowledged there is “risk” involved in re-opening schools, but this has to be weighed up against the loss of educational for young people.

He said: “I understand the anxieties that members of the teaching profession will have.

“That’s why we’ve taken such care to gather the evidence, we established a specific expert group to look at all of these questions and to provide us with clinical advice.

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“And the guidance that we published yesterday reflects that clinical advice, which is that it is safe to resume full-time schooling as long as we put in place a number of mitigating measures.”

He said these include avoiding assemblies or large gatherings of young people, ensuring hand hygiene and maintaining physical distance between teachers and pupils in the classroom.

Mr Swinney added: “We will continue to listen to any concerns that emerge as schools return because it’s important that we properly and fully address the concerns that are held by members of the teaching profession.”

He also said there will be enough teachers working in Scotland when the new term begins, and numbers are being given a “boost” by a new fund to recruit around 1,400 more teachers.