SCOTLAND’s largest teaching union has appealed to Nicola Sturgeon to “do more” to improve safety – pleading for pupils to be socially distanced in schools and face covering to be widely used.

Yesterday, the First Minister and Scotland’s National Clinical Director, Professor Jason Leitch, warned that "a number of cases" of Covid-19 had recently emerged of young people and their families flouting quarantine rules after returning home from overseas.

Professor Leitch also raised concerns over “people meeting outside schools in large groups”.

He added: “Crucially, everyone 12 and over must physically distance from everyone outside their own household. People are running the risk of spreading the virus to each other, their families and their loved ones.”

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But Larry Flanagan, the general secretary of the EIS union, has penned a letter directly to the First Minster, calling for more teachers to be employed in a bid to reduce class sizes to allow for social distancing between young people.

In his letter, Mr Flanagan said: “May I ask, then, why the Scottish Government thinks that it is acceptable that inside schools these rules don’t apply, where up to 33 pupils may be in a closed confined area, i.e. a classroom, with as many different households as there are people?”

He added: “We need the Scottish Government to fund the hiring of the 3,500 teachers identified by the GTCS (General Teaching Council for Scotland) as willing to aid education recovery, so that we can reduce class sizes and make possible physical distancing.

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“We also need stronger advice on face coverings, where physical distancing is not possible. You cannot visit a museum without one but again schools are different?”

Mr Flanagan has stressed that EIS members supported the decision to re-open schools but warned that the decision should mean “the very real concerns of teachers about school safety should be set aside”.

He added: “I urge you and your government to do more.”