GLASGOW'S education boss says parents must play their part in keeping schools safe as city’s youngest children return to the classroom.

Maureen McKenna spoke to the Glasgow Times ahead of the reopening of primaries and secondaries on Monday.

The Scottish Government announced last week that a phased return will begin with P1 to P3 and pupils in senior phase for activities they can't do at home.

But as uniforms are ironed and schoolbags packed, Ms McKenna said there would be mixed emotions about the decision to send children and young people to school.

Glasgow Times: Maureen McKennaMaureen McKenna

The director of education said: "We have some parents who are more than happy to have their child back at school and, in fact, are over the moon.

"Some parents recognise their child has missed the structure and routine of school.

"And there are other parents who are, very understandably, feeling anxious about their child going back.

"It's about trying to build parents' confidence. They need to remember the science behind this decision making - it is not based on a whim."

Schools have been closed since the Christmas break with parents, teachers and pupils waiting for First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to announce what was coming next.

Ms McKenna said home schooling has been successful, particularly with a roll out of more than 50,000 iPads to children across the city.

Her main concern, she said, is for children's activity levels during lockdown.

She said: "Nursery and P1 to P3 is so important for children's educational development, so that they get the grounding we know they need.

"One of the things I have been worrying about is the lack of physical activity for our pupils.

"Normally there's a walk to school and a play in the playground before school starts.

"Then at break time those little ones are out there running around and the same at lunchtime.

"When we have been taking the advice to stay indoors, the children have not had those same regular opportunities.

"Some parents commenting to me through email that that's the bit they feel their child has missed out on the most.

"So it's great for kids going back. My own little grandson is crossing off the days."

Enhanced cleaning regimes will be in place at schools and risk assessments have been updated.

Pupils will continue with regular handwashing, windows will be open for circulation and cleaners will be in schools during the day to regularly sanitise touch points.

At secondary stage, coronavirus tests will be on offer but these are optional and pupils will carry out the tests themselves at home.

Glasgow City Council also arranged for teachers who work with pupils who have complex healthcare needs to be given the Covid-19 vaccine.

Glasgow Times: Nicola Sturgeon confirmed this week that schools would return Nicola Sturgeon confirmed this week that schools would return

But Ms McKenna said parents also have their part to play in stopping the spread of the virus.

She said: "We also want parents to remember adult to adult transmission still remains a risk.

"So when they are coming up to school, could they remember face coverings and could they remember to physically distance from one another, that would be very helpful.

"Developmentally, we need our children back in to school.

"Families need to play their part with physical distancing so the numbers continue to drop and we can get more pupils in."