A PHASED return to school for pupils throughout Helensburgh and Lomond will begin from next week, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.

The First Minister previously revealed the Scottish Government's back-to-school plan, which includes a phased return from February 22.

Speaking to an audience at Holyrood today, February 16, Ms Sturgeon confirmed that from next week there will be a 'phased and gradual return to school' across all Scotland's local authorities.

The move will see all children in P1 to P3 and those at pre-school returning from Monday.

Other age groups will continue to learn from home, apart from some secondary pupils who need to complete coursework.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I know this is difficult given how desperate we all are to get back to something close to normal, but if we open up too quickly to meet arbitrary dates, we risk setting progress back.

“Indeed, because of the new, more infectious variant, our exit from lockdown is likely to be even more cautious than it was last summer.

“And secondly, probably for a while yet, 100 per cent normality is unlikely to be possible.

“So in a world where we can’t do everything immediately, we will need to decide what matters most.”

No immediate other changes to lockdown restrictions will be made, with the current guidelines set to continue until "at least the start of March".

It was also confirmed that there were 49 further deaths of coronavirus patients, and 773 new cases, in the past 24 hours. 1,288,004 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine in Scotland, 28 per cent of the adult population.