MILLIONS of schoolkids in the worst-hit Covid areas will stay home for at least an extra two weeks after the Christmas break.

Sage has warned classrooms may need to be closed until the February half-term as current measures could prove "insufficient" in curbing the virus.

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What areas will primary schools close in?

It was announced on December 30 that primary schools in 49 of the worst-hit Covid spots will not be opening after the Christmas break.

The areas included are all London boroughs, Kent, Hertfordshire and Essex and the plans will be reviewed in two weeks.

The schools will remain shut for pupils due to spiralling cases – except for vulnerable kids and children of key workers who can attend.

They will stay closed until at least January 18.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said moving children to remote learning was a "last resort and temporary solution".

He added: "As infection rates rise across the country, and particularly in London, we must make this move to protect our country and the NHS.

"We will continue keep the list of local authorities under review, and reopen classrooms as soon as we possibly can."

Areas where primary schools will close

London

  • All 32 boroughs

Essex

  • Brentwood
  • Epping Forest
  • Castle Point
  • Basildon
  • Rochford
  • Harlow
  • Chelmsford
  • Braintree
  • Maldon
  • Southend on Sea
  • Thurrock

Kent

  • Dartford
  • Gravesham
  • Sevenoaks
  • Medway
  • Ashford
  • Maidstone
  • Tonbridge and Malling
  • Tunbridge Wells
  • Swale

East Sussex

  • Hastings
  • Rother

Buckinghamshire

  • Milton Keynes

Hertfordshire

  • Watford
  • Broxbourne
  • Hertsmere
  • Three Rivers

 

How do I find out if my child's school is closing?

If your child attends a school in the above areas, then classrooms will not be opening until at least January 18.

But it is best to get in contact with your kid's school directly to check their updates.

Secondary schools in the hotspot areas will stay closed for at least two weeks until January 18 – along with schools in the rest of the country.

The data will be reviewed before then and a decision made whether to get schools back.

But students set to sit GCSEs and A-levels will return on January 11 as planned – and any January exams will go ahead.

Early years like nurseries will remain open nationally, as will alternative provision and special schools.

Students going back to university should stay home if they can – and only those who need to attend for practical learning to go back.

When will my child's school reopen?

Gavin Williamson stressed during the speech on December 30 that the rules would only apply in a handful of areas, and they would be allowed to reopen as soon as possible.

But primary and secondary schools alike will be closed until at least January 18 – but will be reviewed every two weeks.

So the earliest that schools will reopen in the Tier 4 affected areas is January 18.

But the date is likely to be beyond this.

Senior Ministers admitted schools could stay shut after No 10 reviews measures on January 18.

There is no reopening timetable for schools in the hardest-hit Covid areas.

Will my child be able to have lessons remotely?

The Education Secretary stressed schools were only being closed "as a last resort".

He told MPs: "We know how vitally important it is for younger children to be in school for their education, wellbeing and wider development.

"In a small number of areas where the infection rates are highest we will implement our existing contingency framework such as only vulnerable children and children of critical workers will attend face to face."

Expected return dates for schools

January 4: All primary schools will return as planned – except for in Covid hotspot areas which will remain closed

January 11: Secondary school kids set to sit key exams this year will return

January 18: All secondary school kids – except for Covid hotspot areas which will be reviewed regularly

Unknown – Kids in Covid hotspot areas – both primary and secondary schools don't yet have a return date

This means that all other pupils, apart from vulnerable children and kids of key workers, will have lessons remotely.

The way this is conducted will vary between schools and ages of pupils.

It is best to get into contact with your child's teachers directly to see what course of action they will take.

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