MILLIONS of schoolkids in the worst-hit Covid areas will stay home for at least an extra two weeks after the festive break.
But Sage has warned classrooms may need to be closed until the February half-term as current measures could prove “insufficient” in curbing the virus.
⚠️Read our schools live blog for the latest news & updates
What areas will primary schools close in?
They will stay closed until at least January 18.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he has “no doubt” that schools are safe and parents should send primary-age children back to classrooms this week where schools remain open.
Mr Johnson said he understood people’s concerns about children returning for the new term but said education is “a priority”.
Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One, the Prime Minister said: “Schools are safe. It is very, very important to stress that.
“The risk to kids, to young people is really very, very small indeed.
“The risk to staff is very small.”
He added: “I understand people’s frustrations, I understand people’s anxieties but there is no doubt in my mind that schools are safe and that education is a priority.”
⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates
Areas where primary schools will close
- Epping Forest
- Castle Point
- Southend on Sea
- Tonbridge and Malling
- Tunbridge Wells
- Three Rivers
How do I find out if my child’s school is closing?
If your child attends a school in the above areas, then classrooms will not be opening until at least January 18.
But it is best to get in contact with your kid’s school directly to check their updates.
Secondary schools in the hotspot areas will stay closed for at least two weeks until January 18 – along with schools in the rest of the country.
The data will be reviewed before then and a decision made whether to get schools back.
But students set to sit GCSEs and A-levels will return on January 11 as planned – and any January exams will go ahead.
Early years like nurseries will remain open nationally, as will alternative provision and special schools.
Students going back to university should stay home if they can – and only those who need to attend for practical learning to go back.
When will my child’s school reopen?
But primary and secondary schools alike will be closed until at least January 18 – but will be reviewed every two weeks.
So the earliest that schools will reopen in the Tier 4 affected areas is January 18.
Senior Ministers admitted schools could stay shut after No 10 reviews measures on January 18.
There is no reopening timetable for schools in the hardest-hit Covid areas.
Will my child be able to have lessons remotely?
Department for Education said remote learning was “a last resort” and classrooms should reopen “wherever possible” with appropriate safety measures to help mitigate the risk of transmission.
“As we’ve said, we will move to remote education as a last resort, with the involvement of public health officials, in areas where infection and pressures on the NHS are highest,” the spokesperson said.
Expected return dates for schools
January 4: All primary schools will return as planned – except for in Covid hotspot areas which will remain closed
January 11: Secondary school kids set to sit key exams this year will return
January 18: All secondary school kids – except for Covid hotspot areas which will be reviewed regularly
Unknown – Kids in Covid hotspot areas – both primary and secondary schools don’t yet have a return date
This means that all other pupils, apart from vulnerable children and kids of key workers, will have lessons remotely.
The way this is conducted will vary between schools and ages of pupils.
It is best to get into contact with your child’s teachers directly to see what course of action they will take.