Schools WON’T break up early for Christmas amid Omicron variant fears, Downing St says


SCHOOLS will NOT break up early for Christmas to slash the spread of the Omicron variant, Downing St said today.

Boris Johnson’s official spokesman dismissed calls from union leaders to send kids home ahead of schedule because their education was “vital”.

Schools will not be sent home early this Christmas

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi this morning said classrooms were the “best place” for pupils to be.

The Minister said that closing schools should be the “last possible option” and balked at suggestion she bring back hated classroom bubbles.

The PM’s spokesman confirmed that closing schools early was “not something we are looking to do.

“Education is vital and we’ve seen how disruptive the restrictions can be. We’ve always taken steps to keep schools open until we’ve absolutely no other choice. 

The Department for Education last night released new guidance for schools to follow for millions of teachers and kids.

It “strongly advises” pupils, staff and visitors to wear masks in “communal areas” like corridors – but not yet classrooms.

Mr Zahawi told ITV’s This Morning: “Keep schools open: do all the things necessary, like face masks in communal areas… to protect the education in the classroom.

“Face masks are not a panacea… these are all interventions that just help you slow the virus… from accelerating too quickly.

“Just to give the scientists a bit more time, a bit more headroom to actually decide what do we need to do next.”

Kids are already being sent home from classrooms and learning moved back online due to spiralling case numbers.

St Mary’s Church of England Primary in Hereford and Darwen Aldridge Enterprise Studio in Lancashire have shut for at least a week, with other schools in Buckinghamshire, Middlesborough and West Sussex all closing for at least a day.

In an email to headteachers, the DfE said testing students on their return to the classroom in January “will help reduce transmission after a period of social mixing” over the holidays.

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) has said it is not reasonable for the authority to impose such a considerable public health task on schools “with minimal support”.