Boris Johnson – Survey: When should children in Coventry go back to school?
Boris Johnson this week confirmed there would be no return to schools for children until after February half term.
The Prime Minister confirmed that hopes of all pupils returning to class after the February half-term have been abandoned as the battle with coronavirus remained “perilous”.
During a Downing Street press conference, the PM earmarked the date March 8 to begin the reopening of England’s schools.
The Government will publish a strategy for the “gradual and phased” easing of lockdown in the week beginning February 22, with schools expected to be the first to reopen.
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England’s schools are currently closed to all but vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers.
The Prime Minister told MPs: “The first sign of normality beginning to return should be pupils going back to their classrooms.”
Arrangements to provide free school meals for eligible pupils would be extended and an extra £300 million will be available for tutoring to help children catch up on missed lessons.
The plan will also depend on evidence showing the effectiveness of the vaccines in preventing death and serious illness.
He said the road map being published in February will set out a plan to “get our lives back to as close to normal as possible”.
But he warned it was a timetable that is “inevitably going to be subject to adjustment”.
The Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said: “We are at a position where the lockdowns have worked, they’ve slowed this down, they’ve reached a position where it has reached a plateau and is beginning to decline – and we see that in cases, we’re beginning to see that in hospital admissions and we’re beginning to see that in deaths – but it is early days.
“This isn’t coming down quickly, we remain at very high levels and it is going to take weeks for this to come down to really low levels.”