Schools may reopen in June after summer half-term in ‘staggered approach’, government plans reveal – The Sun
SCHOOLS could open in June after the summer half-term in a "staggered" approach to lifting the lockdown, government plans suggest.
Officials are said to be mulling over a reverse removal of the lockdown measures brought in weeks ago to battle coronavirus – by allowing children to go back to school first.
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Although plans show the lockdown is likely to be in place for a few more months at least, The Telegraph reports a careful return to classrooms could be the first stage in the virus exit strategy.
Whitehall officials in the Department for Education are thought to be considering plans which would start different age groups going back to school between June and July, after the break.
But this is said to all hinge on when the peak of the pandemic arrives for the UK – which has so far seen 70,272 cases of the killer bug, and 8,958 deaths.
A senior Government source told The Telegraph yesterday: “It would be better if they could come back after the half term break in the summer, but of course that does have to be led by the science.
“Even if they did come back you would need to have social distancing, and that is hard to do in a class of 30. That would mean you couldn’t have everyone back at the same time.
“You would need to focus on the key year groups, such as Year 10 and Year 12.”
Last week it was confirmed schools would not reopen after Easter after one minister suggested reopening schools after Easter could “kick-start the economy”.
The unnamed minister was quoted calling for kids to be allowed back to school after the Easter holidays in a fortnight.
But government insiders said there was still no date for reopening schools and said it was far too early to even speculate.
They said schools are in “exactly the same position as everyone else in the country” in terms of waiting for the science to guide when to lift restrictions on social interaction.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: "It’s still too early to say when the peak is going to be. Our focus is on stopping transmission while building NHS capacity, as that is what will save lives."
Government insiders also distanced themselves from a University College London study earlier this week that claimed the school closures had a tiny impact on the spread of the virus.
Researchers claimed closures along could reduce UK deaths during the Covid-19 outbreak by as little as 2 per cent, while warning that the costs to children’s health and education were “high”.
Currently only the children of key workers are allowed to send their kids in.
A DfE spokesperson said: "Schools will remain closed until further notice, except for children of critical workers and the children who are most vulnerable.
"We will re-open schools when the scientific advice indicates it is safe to do so."
Social distancing could be in place indefinitely, while the government works to battle the killer virus causing chaos across the world.
More than 100,000 people have now died from coronavirus, with more than a million cases globally.
Brits could live with coronavirus restrictions until a vaccine is developed which could take 'around 18 months', according to reports.
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More severe restrictions will be gradually phased out but some, such as remote working and isolating if you have symptoms of the virus, will remain in some form next year.
Scientists say the discovery of a vaccine is the only genuine "exit strategy" from the virus, meaning the country will have to adjust to a 'new normal', the Daily Mail reported.
It comes after foreign secretary Dominic Raab told the nation that it was "too early" to lift the lockdown, and that the country "must stick to the plan" in place.
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