PRIMARY school children could finally head back to classrooms in June, the PM said this evening in his new plans to ease the lockdown.
Students will be able to start back at school in stages, starting with the youngest pupils first.
Boris Johnson said this evening schools would be part of the second stage of his three-phase plan to open Britain back up while keeping coronavirus at bay.
He said: “In step two – at the earliest by June 1 – after half term – we believe we may be in a position to begin the phased reopening of shops and to get primary pupils back into schools, in stages, beginning with reception, Year 1 and Year 6.
“Our ambition is that secondary pupils facing exams next year will get at least some time with their teachers before the holidays.
“And we will shortly be setting out detailed guidance on how to make it work in schools and shops and on transport.”
Secondary school children who will sit their GCSEs and A levels in 2021 will be prioritised next, so they don’t fall behind.
But there are no plans to start lessons for students in secondary school back up before the summer break.
Students in those crucial years will get one-on-one time with teachers so they have work to do over the summer break.
More details on the reopening of schools are expected to be revealed later this week.
In a video message tonight the PM:
- Urged Brits to get back to work if they can’t from home
- Revealed Brits would be allowed to sunbathe in parks and play unlimited sport from Wednesday – and can go on day trips
- Said anyone coming into the country by air would be forced to quarantine
- Schools will start going back from June – but only if the infection level is low enough
- But he warned that pubs, cinemas and mass gatherings would be off the cards for months to come
There has been growing alarm over the continued closure of schools and how far back this will set children’s educations, particularly those from the most deprived areas.
Although schools have remained open throughout the lockdown for kids of key workers and those who are most vulnerable – there has been only a 1 per cent attendance rate.
Plans to reopen schools have also been complicated by how to introduce social distancing measures with narrow corridors and cramped classrooms.
Some headteachers have warned it would be next to impossible for primary students in particular to follow measures that would keep them two metres apart.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van Tham admitted yesterday it would be difficult to keep children from coming into close contact with one another.