PUPILS in Scotland will return to school full time by August 18 at the latest, the First Minister said today.

Nicola Sturgeon gave an update on lockdown restrictions this afternoon and said there had been a “moral imperative” to get children back to school.

She said that the Scottish Government’s caution in easing lockdown rules has been led by a desire to keep the prevalence of Covid-19 low and get pupils back to school safely as soon as possible.

The First Minister said ministers had to be sure that the latest scientific evidence supported this move.

Sturgeon said the guidance makes clear that in general, physical distancing between pupils will not be required on the school estate.

However she said in secondary schools physical distancing should be observed where possible, and there should be distancing between pupils and teachers at both primary and secondary level.

Sturgeon added that rules on good ventilation and hygiene should be followed rigorously.

However, the First Minister said she could not rule out the need for blended learning in the future in the prevalence of the virus increases.

She thanked children and young people for the way they have coped with the “considerable disruption” of lockdown.

“We could not be prouder of you,” she told them.