Nicola Sturgeon has stressed that schools remaining open  “outweigh” their impact on the spread of coronavirus.

Speaking at the coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon outlined the details of a new report from Public Health Scotland.

That report showed that three-quarters of all schools did not report a single case of Covid-19 in the first nine weeks of this term.

In total, 1,621 pupils tested positive for the virus during that period, the equivalent of 0.2% of the total cohort.

Responding to calls to close schools in higher prevalence areas, Ms Sturgeon said: “While we will continue to listen carefully to all concerns, these findings do reinforce our view that, at this time, the benefits young people gain from being in school outweigh the overall impact on transmission rates.”

Peeblesshire News:

Her comments come as union chiefs demanded part-time schooling in areas of Scotland placed under Level 4 restrictions.

Both the EIS and NASUWT teaching unions are calling for blended learning models to be introduced in these areas, with pupils attending classes on some days while learning from home the rest of the week.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “Teachers understand the importance of schools to the lives of young people and would wish to see schools open, but not at any cost.”

This morning, Education Secretary John Swinney said measures aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus have been “strengthened”, pointing to the recent requirement for pupils in S4 to S6 to wear face coverings in class.

He also insisted there were “robust arrangements” to ensure physical distancing takes place between staff and between students and teachers, and said that the Scottish Government was constantly monitoring schools “to make sure all the appropriate measures have been taking place”.

Full details from the Scottish Government's evidence on transmission within education settings can be found here.