Schools outside London and Birmingham could reopen next month under plans being considered by ministers


Ministers are considering plans to reopen some primary schools and nurseries next month.

Schools in Denmark have been reopened

Britain could be “segmented” into different risk groups – and young, healthy adults could be able to return to work, as children head back to school, according to The Times.

Scientific advisers and Public Health England have drawn up guidance for Downing Street and the Cabinet Office on how they could begin to ease strict social distancing measures.

The suggestion comes as Denmark became the first European country to reopen schools from lockdown.

Danish students still have to follow social distancing rules and sit 2 metres apart, but classes have resumed in a hopeful sign for Brits grappling with homeschooling.

Schools at the top of the list to reopen could be those who are in regional areas without major outbreaks of coronavirus.

Both London and Birmingham are hotspots for COVID-19.

Researchers at University College London have said school closures have not had a major impact on the spread of coronavirus – and may only have reduced the predicted deaths by as little as 2 to 4 percent.

A study from Warwick University has also recommended allowing 4.2million young adults aged between 20 to 30 to return to their normal lives.

This is based on the extremely low death rate for young adults – estimated to be 0.03 per cent for those in their 20s.

A cabinet minister said the study had “a lot of interest” among other ministers.

Reopening schools would allow more parents to return to work and start rebooting the economy.

A rift between cabinet ministers over how and when to end the lockdown has been sparked by fears of an economic meltdown.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has been described as a “hawk” who wants schools to return to normal as soon as possible.

Other ministers are pushing for pupils to return before half-term next month.

One minister said: “People have followed the instruction to stay at home to the nth degree. Businesses have closed down, schools have closed down. This was far more than anticipated.

“It’s important that we don’t end up doing more damage with the lockdown. We’re looking at another three weeks of lockdown and then we can start to ease it.”

But scientific advisers have also warned that social distancing such as working from home or self isolation for those with symptoms could remain in place indefinitely as the world races to find a vaccine.

Stand-in PM Dominic Raab is expected to announce today the lockdown will be extended for another three weeks.

Students in Denmark still adhering to social distancing

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has refused to be baited on the question of ending the lockdown, and said he doesn’t want to distract Brits’ from the job at hand by telling them when it might end.

He told Sky News: “If we just released all these measures now this virus would run rampant once again.

“It is too early to make a change and whilst we have seen a flattening of the number of cases and a flattening of the number of deaths, that has not gone down, it’s still far too high.”

General Secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers Dr Patrick Roach said schools should not be the testing ground of ending lockdown.

He told BBC Radio4 this morning: “Our members are desperately concerned that at a time of importance of children’s education schools are closed or partially closed… but we have got to remember why we are in this position.

“Any decision in relation to fully or partially reopened schools must be guided by the same overriding public health conditions and follow the scientific evidence.”