It comes amid a large spike in coronavirus cases in recent weeks due to a new, more virulent strain of the virus.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson MP is reportedly keen to reopen schools as usual after the winter break, but he is believed to face opposition to his plan, telling his allies that ‘he faces a “huge battle”.
Scientists are calling for a full lockdown, with a critical meeting held next week between Downing Street officials and the Education Department to decide what happens in January.
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The Mirror reports that experts are warning that closing schools may be the only way to keep the new strain of mutated coronavirus under control. They report a source who said, “Gavin is trying to keep them open, which is why he rolled out the tests early. He is facing a huge battle. These are the lockdowners [he’s fighting] »
On Saturday, 34,693 more cases were announced by the Department of Health – meaning more than 250,000 people have tested positive in the UK in the past seven days – a 45% increase from the week former.
No decision has yet been made on whether to reopen schools, but questions are being asked about the disruption the closures would cause for exams, the Telegraph reports.
It comes amid warnings that students in coronavirus hotspots face unfair disadvantage if schools continue to close because students and staff must isolate themselves.
Boris Johnson has repeatedly said keeping schools and colleges open is a top priority for the government.
Before Christmas, the government threatened to sue local authorities if they allowed schools to close prematurely.
A top scientist today warned that all of England should be placed in level 4 measures to save lives.
There are now more Covid patients in UK hospitals than at any time during the pandemic – and the average number of new infections each day is over 30,000.
Dr Zubaida Haque, who sits on Independent Sage, today asked why the government has not put the whole country on the most severe level of restrictions to save lives.
The Sage scientist tweeted yesterday: ‘Given that we passed 70,000 # COVID19 deaths in the UK on Christmas Day, and there are now more coronavirus patients in hospital than any other time of the pandemic, why hasn’t the government implemented # tier4 restrictions everywhere? UK? @IndependentSage is very concerned. ”