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Schools not to reopen until March confirms Boris Johnson




The Prime Minister has been speaking in the House of Commons

BORIS Johnson has said schools will not reopen before Monday, March 8, in an address to the House of Commons.

The Prime Minister, fresh from announcing the grim milestone of 100,000 coronavirus deaths and taking "full responsibility" for the response to Covid-19 so far, told MPs parents will be given two weeks notice of reopening and it will therefore not be possible to do so after half term as many had hoped.

In terms of easing of lockdown generally he said a road map would be announced upon the publication of a report on its affect so far.

This will happen when MPs return from a break on the week commencing February 22.

But he stressed schools would be the first to reopen and this would not happen before Monday, March 8.

It would depend, he added, on vaccinating (delivery at least one jab) to everyone in the four most vulnerable age groups by mid February.

Due to the huge disruption children have faced a 'catch-up programme' worth £300 million will be provided for tutoring and summer schools.

Free school meals will also continue until March 8.

The government's approach to schooling in lockdown has been one of the most controversial aspects of its response.

After initially refusing to close class rooms last March it then did, except for children of essential workers.

In the summer, major issues with the controversial exam algorithm saw another u-turn.

Schools returned as planned in September but this year's exams were then pushed back - but by just three weeks despite hundreds of thousands of children continuing to be sent home due to exposure to the virus.

They broke up for Christmas as planned, but some wrapped up early prompting education secretary Gavin Williamson to threaten them with legal action.

Then, in January, another 11th hour u-turn saw many pupils, depending on where they lived, told they would not be returning to the class room with just days until they were due to go back.

Then, a day into the start of term, another u-turn saw the same policy extended to all schools, the majority of which had returned for just a day.

GCSEs, AS and A Levels were then called off.

Schools, as always remain open for children of essential workers and, due to a change in policy, vulnerable children, meaning the numbers still heading in is far higher than during the first lockdown.

In the address Mr Johnson also announced the anticipated travel quarantine.

There will be a ban on travel from 22 countries where there is a known variant, including South Africa and Brazil. Those who have to come must isolate in facilities provided.

Home Secretary Priti Patel will add more information later on.



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