As Nicola Sturgeon reported, schools in Scotland will remain closed from February 1 at the earliest.
As part of a series of additional steps to tackle the spread of the Covid-19 mutant strain through Scotland, the First Minister made the announcement at Holyrood.
In mid-January, the decision will be reviewed.
For most students, the announcement would mean two additional weeks of home schooling.
The Scottish government had already declared that the Christmas holiday would be extended until Jan. 11, with ministers initially preparing until Jan. 18 for distance learning.
Schools will remain available, however, to the children of key staff who are unable to work from home and to disadvantaged young people.
A package of practical assistance for parents was called for by the Scottish Greens.
Party co-chair Patrick Harvie said, “We need a package of practical support for parents with schools closed for longer than planned, not only from the government but also from employers, especially for single parents, for those in squeezed conditions and for those who have to work from home while schools are closed. Last time, people fought, but they did it.”
“They need and deserve our help if they have to do it again.”
It was appalling to see how certain people, including influential political leaders, seemed to doubt their judgement and even their honesty in calling for a precautionary response to the pandemic, he added: ‘I hope the First Minister believes that teachers’ unions are correct to be worried about the protection of pupils and the broader community, as well as school workers.
“I welcome the fact that the First Secretary seems to acknowledge that more needs to be done to expedite the vaccination of teachers and other school personnel. We need to see significant progress on this before the January 18 review date.”