East Ayrshire Council have outlined the initial steps they plan to take as schools in Cumnock and surrounding areas prepare to re-open after summer.

From Monday June 15 some staff will return to schools subject to the appropriate safety measures being taken.

Pupils entering P1 and S1 will be prioritised, social distancing will be in place and a blended model of at-home and in-school teaching will be introduced.

Not all pupils will be in school on a full-time basis.

Linda McAulay-Griffiths, Head of Education, said: “From Monday June 15 some staff will return to our schools subject to risk assessments being completed. Head Teachers will determine which staff will attend school and will use this week to prepare for some pupils returning the following week.

“Our priority will be pupils who will be entering P1 and S1 after the summer and young people who require an enhanced transition.

“Schools will be holding transition events before the summer holiday starts. These won’t be full day events and may even be virtual events where that is possible.”

The council will continue to carry out deep cleans in schools with a focus on touch points in school buildings and using products which minimise the risk of infection by leaving a protective layer on all surfaces.

PPE has also been purchased for staff that require it to perform their jobs safely and a dedicated Health and Safety team will support students and staff to ensure they are protected at all times.

Councillor Fiona Campbell, Cabinet Member for Skills and Learning, said: “We have gathered teams with different skills and expertise to provide support and guidance in all areas, including physical changes to classroom layout, cleaning, procurement of PPE, health and safety and wellbeing for staff and pupils.

“I know that our little ones and young people have missed school, their teachers and their friends and want to get back to normal.

“Unfortunately we can’t go back to normal at the moment but we can create a positive learning environment and ensure that our children and young people are safely supported to achieve their full potential.”

Although the Scottish Government announced that schools will return on Tuesday August 11, council plans reveal this may not be the case for schools in the local area.

Linda McAulay-Griffiths said: “I am aware that the return date set by the Scottish Government has caused some concern for families and I will let staff, parents and carers know if there is any movement on this date.

“We are all working together to consider how we could phase in-school learning for August onwards. Safety will always be our main concern and it is clear that social distancing will remain in place for the foreseeable future. This means that we can’t have all pupils in school on a full-time basis.

“We are planning a blended approach of in-school and learning at home. I understand that this temporary way of learning will mean that families need to make adjustments for work and childcare arrangements.

"Our in-school learning is likely to involve smaller groups of children coming in for part of the week and learning at home for the rest of the week. Outdoor learning will be used wherever possible.

"Staff will provide tasks and activities to be carried out at home and these will be set by teachers while children and young people are at school as part of their learning experience.

Further information, particularly on August return dates, is set to be issued before the summer break.