THERE may not be physical distancing between pupils when schools return in the Wee County, but additional safety measures will be in place.

The Scottish Government last week announced that if coronavirus is sufficiently suppressed, learners will return to education full-time on August 12.

Plans are already being drawn up in Clacks and speaking to the Advertiser, Clackmannanshire Council's chief education officer Lorraine Sanda highlighted that measures will be in place to keep everybody safe and well.

However, based on current guidance, this may not entail social distancing between children when in school.

Lorraine Sanda said: "Clearly, we need to be 100 per cent sure as an authority that children and staff are safe so we will scrutinise whatever comes out from Scottish Government.

"We are expecting additional guidance; we are expecting an update of the framework from the Scottish Government that was put out on May 28 – that's likely to mention the social distancing.

"At the moment, if we go to 100 per cent [full-time education], we are not planning on social distancing, but we are planning on health and safety and additional measures put in place to keep everybody safe and well."

There will be a focus on maximising the space available, creating additional break out areas, enhanced cleaning regimes and clear plans for dealing with any Covid-19 cases.

The council and schools have been asking families how the lockdown has been impacting on them and this survey will help guide the approach in August.

The education chief said: "We don't want to kick school off just as normal, we have to really think what are the issues that need to be addressed.

"For some children and young people, they might be quite anxious about going back to school and that will be given careful attention by the teachers."

She added: "I think that health and wellbeing message is a really important one and we will have people on hand to support that."

Schools will be doing their best to put in place additional support and help young people catch up on time lost as quickly as possible.

Extra attention will also be given to seniors starting SQAs as well as to P1s and S1s who just transitioned into a new school.

Transport remains an outstanding issue with the local authority seeking further guidance from government.

Lorraine Sanda said: "There will be ongoing communication with parents; I really appreciate how difficult it is for them to make arrangements about work and the uncertainty everyone is working to."

Councillor Graham Lindsay, spokesman for education, reiterated safety will be a top priority.

He added: "The plans we have already put in place for a blended learning approach will be a contingency and will be essential preparation in case they are needed.

"I would just like to take this opportunity to thank our school heads, education and support staff for all their hard work over the past few months in preparing for the re-opening of schools and ELC establishments."