latest news on when they might reopen

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Boris Johnson has announced that all primary and secondary schools will have to close from January 5 as England begins a third nationwide lockdown.
The prime minister said schools will have to offer distance learning at least until mid-February and the GCSE and A-level exams will be canceled for a second year.

Mr Johnson said the new measures were necessary: ​​”because we have to do all we can to stop the spread of the disease”.

Only vulnerable children and the children of primary workers will be allowed to attend schools for face-to-face learning, and early childhood facilities such as nurseries will remain accessible.

The prime minister said he understood the “distress” the new measures would cause millions of parents and students, and said that so far the government was doing “everything in our power to keep schools open. “.

He added: “We know how important every day in education is for children’s chances in life. ”

Those entitled to free school meals will continue to receive them during closings, and more devices will be distributed to help distance learning, Johnson said.

The government had insisted that schools would only remain open one day before the new measures were announced, reassuring parents that it was “safe” to send their children away for the start of the term on January 4.

But the move drew backlash from four national teachers’ unions, who called for the delay in London to apply to all schools in England amid concerns that the new strain of Covid-19 poses a threat to teachers.

Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner for England has called for teachers to be vaccinated “as a matter of priority”.

What do the levels mean for schools?

The new lockdown measures mean the whole country will be subject to the same stricter measures, including the closure of all schools, which means the levels system is not currently in place.

Each school has been tasked with making plans to ensure that children continue to receive an education even if they have to stay at home.

Mr Johnson said when announcing the school closures: “I want to stress that the problem is not that schools are not safe for children. ”

“The problem is that schools can nonetheless act as vectors of transmission, causing the virus to spread between households. ”

Learn more about the previous level system:

When will high schools reopen?

All schools will remain closed until mid-February, with the possibility that these measures will be extended further.

This means that most high school students will be staying home at least until mid-February.

How will the tests in schools work?

The government previously made a plan for each high school to test as many students and staff as possible when they reopen.

It is not yet clear whether schools will still be required to mass test students after the latest school closures end.

Plans called for 40,000 volunteers to be recruited by high schools to mass test their students, according to government documents.

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