Some pupils to return to school on 1 June if the rates of infection have decreased enough

By Jamie Hill - 16 May 2020

Education

Today's daily coronavirus briefing was hosted by education secretary Gavin Williamson who outlined the plans for children to return from lockdown to education.

Gavin Williamson spoke today about the wider plans for the reopening of schools after eight weeks of closure with Years 10 and 12 pupils to be prioritised.

The education secretary said that if the rates of infection have decreased enough that will give the green light for some children to return to school. The plans are for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to return with smaller class sizes at primary schools along with students in years 10 and 12 on a limited basis to have face-to-face time with their teachers.

Mr Williamson thanked the schools for keeping them open to help with the children of critical workers but stresses that it is vitally important that children do not miss out on their education and it would be the poorest and most disadvantaged children who would miss out the most. He stresses that The Government will only reopen schools when the five tests are met.

The Department of Education has been working to ensure that certain public health strategies are adopted to make sure it is as safe as possible for the children to return. This includes reducing class sizes and keeping children in small group creating 'a protective bubble' and that schools will be rigourous about hygiene and hand washing. 

School staff can already be tested for the virus but from 1 June, testing will be extended to cover school children and their families if any of them develop symptoms with track and trace methods to then be used to prevent further spread.

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