SCHOOL closures should be on the cards in the 11 local authority areas - including Glasgow - that face Scotland's toughest Covid restrictions on Friday.

The level four rules will see the closure of non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants and gyms.

They will be imposed in East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire.

North and South Lanarkshire, East and South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian will also move to level four.

Now the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), the country’s largest teaching union, has said schools in Level Four should be allowed to implement blended or remote learning contingency measures.

READ MORE: Concerns over Scots school social distancing as pupil absences due to Covid treble in 12 days

Schools across Scotland were reopened after an initial Covid lockdown by August 18 after the Scottish Government's previous plans for blended learning, with pupils learning at home for part of the school week, received an angry reaction from some parents and opposition politicians.

They were eventually put to one side, as it was decided to have pupils in classrooms.

The announcement of the Level 4 restrictions, made by the First Minister in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon, is based on concern over the level of Covid spread across these local authority areas.

And the EIS say that despite this, schools are "currently expected to remain open on a full-time basis, with up to 33 pupils and at least one adult in each classroom".

It said that figures published on a regular basis by the Scottish Government have highlighted week-on-week increases in both the number of pupils and teachers infected with Covid-19 and, also, the number of pupils and teachers absent from school due to being required to self-isolate.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “The Move to Level 4 restrictions is designed to get the spread of Covid under control in these areas. It will also, inevitably, increase the anxiety felt by many teachers over the level risk to their health, their pupils’ health and the health of their families and the wider community.

"The EIS is clear that, in areas that are now at level 4, the current policy of keeping schools operating as normal on a full-time basis is at odds with delivering effective virus suppression.

"It is not only about the safety of schools themselves, it’s about the role of schools in terms of local community transmission. It’s difficult to imagine somewhere with more social mixing than schools and pupils and staff then go back into their communities and their homes and families.”

Mr Flanagan added: “We have been repeatedly told at CERG (Covid Education Recovery Group) that blended and remote learning remain active contingencies, but the First Minister appears to be ruling them out entirely, even at Level 4. Teachers understand the importance of schools to the lives of young people and would wish to see schools open but not at any cost – safety and Covid security need to be guiding concerns also.”

The EIS is currently surveying its members on a range of issues related to school Covid safety measures.

The pleas comes after the Herald revealed the number of pupils absent from school in Scotland because of the coronavirus has nearly trebled since the October holiday as teachers' representatives have warned that there is a lack of effective physical distancing.

Figures revealed that since the children returned to school in August, the number of absentees as a direct result of Covid-19 has risen by three-and-a-half times.

Both the Scottish and UK governments are determined to keep schools open despite a surge of deaths and cases in a second wave of the virus.

But unions have previously said that school closures must remain on the agenda and say "much more" needs to be done to keep teachers and pupils safe whilst schools remain open fully.