A war of words broke out on Twitter yesterday (Monday March 23) after Isles MP Angus Brendan MacNeil publicly criticised councils across Scotland for keeping schools open and staffed.
He said on Twitter: “Councils across Scotland are demanding teachers turn up in near-empty schools tomorrow ...
“While FM & PM, rightly, say stay at home. Is it pettiness in council education departments??
He was backed up by the leader of the Scottish Tories Jackson Carlaw who said: “Anyone second guessing national advice must STOP doing so. @NicolaSturgeon [is] clear, “life should not feel normal” & if we are to save lives & protect our NHS - we all must follow the @BorisJohnson advice & as far as possible stay at home.”
Neither Mr Carlaw nor Mr MacNeil explained how Key Workers' children should be cared for if the schools were not open.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar replied in a series of tweets. “We cannot speak for other councils. However, without teachers providing a resource in Western Isles schools, we would not be able to support @NHSWI, social care services, home care services, maintenance of utility infrastructure and transport.
“In the WI, we have 22 schools covering the same distance as Aberdeen-Glasgow & by using them as Humanitarian Resilience Centres, we maintain small populations geographically isolated. Our teaching workforce is limited & any service is directly to provide support to key workers.
“In light of the decisions taken tonight by both Governments, the Comhairle would wish to confirm that support remains in place, in nurseries, Primary and Secondary schools, for the children of all Key Workers.
“All our schools have provision today for key workers with no alternative childcare. PLEASE only send in pupils if you have absolutely no alternative care and your employer has confirmed that you are a key worker in SG categories. See here:
“We would encourage Key Workers to fill in the online registration form bit.ly/2UjT6Ys so that we can continue to provide necessary support.