SO, it’s official. Schools will be re-opening from August 11 and, while pupils will no doubt be excited to catch up with friends they might not have seen in four months, I’m sure many parents and staff will feel a mixture of emotions.

We have had months of justified warnings to be cautious, to keep our distance from others and wear face coverings in crowded areas, so the prospect of classrooms filled with pupils and no social distancing will understandably cause some anxiety, not least for teachers and other staff who are considered at risk, or pupils with vulnerable adults in their family.

Councils are approaching this in different ways. For example, Falkirk are phasing in face-to-face teaching over two weeks.

But when it comes to the Scottish Government’s advice for teachers, schools and councils, things have been less than clear.

At the start of the summer holidays I asked several questions of Education Secretary John Swinney to get some clarity about how schools will keep their staff and pupils safe. Now, with less than a fortnight remaining, many of those questions remain unanswered.

In fact, some of the advice has changed in recent weeks, so there is understandable confusion. Secondary pupils are now in fact to maintain distancing “where possible”, though councils acknowledge that this will be impossible much of the time, given that classrooms are no bigger than they were in March.

Teachers and other staff are to keep a two-metre distance from each other and from pupils and are advised to cover their face if within two metres for more than 15 minutes. As many teachers have observed, the size of their classroom and number of pupils means that distance is impossible, therefore they’re in fact organised to wear a face covering all day.

Children may be at lower risk from the virus but adult staff certainly aren’t. They deserve to know that their health and safety has been fully taken into consideration and see the evidence underpinning these instructions and guidance.

The Scottish Greens have consistently pushed for regular testing of frontline staff throughout this crisis. Swinney’s initial response was, in his words, “very supportive”. World Health Organisation advice from the start has headlined their “test, test, test” plea, so that the virus can be tracked and eliminated. Scotland has never used all its testing capacity, bringing in regular testing of care workers far too late and failing to do so entirely for all frontline healthcare staff.

So, it’s disappointing to us that regular testing will not be offered to school staff and older pupils, instead an “enhanced surveillance testing” programme will be launched. We are yet to see the details of this, which I hope will address our concerns.

The First Minister’s response to Patrick Harvie this week that even this programme won’t be fully operational when schools return is deeply troubling, though. As school outbreaks in other countries have shown, failing to get this right carries huge risks.

And it’s not good enough to compare our record with the rest of the UK. In many countries which have been the most successful at eliminating Covid-19, regular testing has been consistently found to reduce the spread of the virus.

There are still questions about what will happen if cases are found. Will entire schools be closed and whole classes asked to self-isolate?

Under Scotland’s Test and Protect policy, anyone who has been in close contact with an individual who tests positive should immediately self-isolate, so presumably it will be no different for schools. But the impact could be massively disruptive. High school pupils move classes throughout the day, so will their whole year group need to self-isolate? Is this a decision for the council or the health board?

With mounting evidence that Covid-19 poses a disproportionate risk to people of colour, schools and councils must conduct risk assessments in order to keep them safe, not put the burden on individual pupils and staff to request additional protections.

Before we get to schools re-opening, though, there is the issue of SQA results day this coming Tuesday. After exams were cancelled, teachers were asked to submit estimated grades and ranking of their pupils to the SQA. The exams authority would then moderate those estimates.

What concerns me about this is the veil of secrecy the SQA has thrown over the moderation process, refusing to publish it until after results are issued, despite two requests from Parliament that they do so.

We do know that they will be using a school’s historic exam results to moderate individual pupils’ grades, potentially altering them from pass to fail marks. As my research has highlighted, this could disproportionately affect working-class young people and those who go to schools with rapidly improving pass rates.

Reducing the hard work of young people to a statistical average is unjust. I expect a record number of appeals this year but more importantly, I hope this episode forces the Scottish Government to take action against the culture of secrecy at the SQA, one which has eroded the trust of teachers, pupils and parents across Scotland.