ONE of Scotland's chief scientific experts says it is safe for children to begin returning to schools - but admits there will likely be Covid outbreaks in the coming weeks. 

Professor Devi Sridhar, chair of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, believes cases in pupils must be "kept in perspective" as youngsters in some age groups are allowed back in the classroom from today. 

Children in early years education, the first three primaries, and a limited number of senior kids are due to return to schools in Glasgow and across Scotland. Some pupils, including those of key workers, have remained in the classroom during lockdown. 

READ MORE: Swinney: Following Covid restrictions remains 'critical' as pupils return to school

Professor Sridhar said: "It's never completely safe for children to go into school for any health issue or injury they may encounter. 

"We have to make it safe enough as we can and balance the risk and benefits. 

"The harms are now well recognised for children being out of school. There is a chance now – and it's a huge thank you to all those complying with restrictions – that we can get the case numbers low enough to even consider opening for the youngest years and a limited number of senior pupils.

"We should keep perspective. There will likely be cases emerging in schools over the next few weeks but the vast majority should be fine.

"We considered in our scientific advise all different options and clearly there is an age variant. You can see this very clearly with outbreaks that occur. 

"Very few in nurseries, slightly more in primaries, then you get into secondaries with teenagers, who are biologically very similar to adults, and in universities at the start of this year we had quite a few cases. 

"We have to work back up through that gradient. We are doing this by starting with primaries and early years, it's the start Denmark has also taken.

"We are trying to bring regular testing into schools to reassure teachers. We will wait a few weeks to assess things and then look to get the next group of pupils in." 

Prof Sridhar's comments come after education secretary John Swinney assured teachers he had been given evidence to say schools were safe. 

Glasgow Times: John Swinney John Swinney

Mr Swinney, however, warned parents to avoid mingling while dropping off pupils and Prof Sridhar mirrored his concerns. 

"Nothing else is really changing in the system unless it's the behaviour of adults because they are mixing more," she told Good Morning Scotland

"That's the worry. If parents are less burdened by their kids, will they start to socialise more? Go to workplaces? Meet at school gates?

"We have to get through this period with calm heads and we need perspective when people see headlines about outbreaks."