Some Scottish pupils have begun the new school term learning remotely as the Omicron variant spreads - but disruption in East Renfrewshire is significantly less than in some other areas.

Schools in around a third of Scotland’s 32 council areas - including East Renfrewshire - reopened on Wednesday after the Christmas and New Year holiday, while others return later this week and some early next week.

Pupils at one primary school in Clackmannanshire and one in Aberdeenshire are learning remotely for Covid-related reasons, while individual classes at two schools in the Falkirk Council area are also learning online.

East Renfrewshire Council, however, told the PA news agency their schools are operating as normal.

South Lanarkshire Council and East Dunbartonshire Council also said today their schools are operating as normal, while Orkney Islands Council and Glasgow City Council said no schools or classes are closed as a result of Covid.

No schools in West Dunbartonshire were closed today, but the council also told PA that 13 teachers were self-isolating on the first day of term with the absences being covered by colleagues within the schools affected.

Virus expert Dr Christine Tait-Burkard, of the University of Edinburgh, has warned it is “almost inevitable” that Omicron cases will rise further as pupils return to school.

The Scottish Government has urged secondary school pupils to take a lateral flow test before going to class, while those aged 12-15 are encouraged to have their second coronavirus jab.

Safety guidance for schools was updated in December in light of Omicron and mitigations include physical distancing, one-way systems and the correct use of face coverings.

The latest daily figures announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon this afternoon show 16,103 new positive cases of Covid reported, with 1,223 people in hospital with the virus, 42 people in intensive care and five deaths reported.

Asymptomatic people who test positive for Covid on a lateral flow device will no longer be expected to get a confirmatory PCR test, under changes designed to free up pressure on testing services.

Nicola Sturgeon also confirmed that self-isolation can be cut from 10 to seven days if people have no fever and also test negative for the virus on an LFD on days six and seven.

It comes as surveillance by the Office for National Statistics revealed that an estimated one in 20 people in Scotland were infected in the week to December 31 - the highest prevalence at any point in the pandemic, and up from one in 40 the previous week.

For the week to Sunday, January 2, East Renfrewshire had 2,351 confirmed new cases, giving a seven-day test positivity rate of 2,447.4 per 100,000 people.

That test positivity rate is the fifth highest of all Scotland's 32 council areas, behind Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire.