SCHOOL kids are once again knuckling down to remote learning after a third national lockdown shuttered down schools again.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that all schools, colleges and universities would remain shut until March 8 in a bid to get rocketing infection rates under control.
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When will schools reopen in the UK?
Boris Johnson has announced that schools will remain closed until at least March 8.
The PM said the plan to exit lockdown will depend on the success of the vaccination, the capacity of the NHS and death rates falling.
He added "it will not be possible to reopen schools immediately after February half term".
Mr Johnson said he understands it is "frustrating" for parents, carers, children and teachers, and they are "the worries we share".
But, if the government reaches its target of vaccinating the four most vulnerable groups by mid-February, he said: "We hope it will therefore be safe to begin the opening of schools for Monday 8 March."
On January 22, 2021 the education secretary said he would "certainly hope" schools in England could reopen before Easter.
Mr Johnson told MPs this afternoon: "It will not be possible to reopen schools immediately after February half-term.
"So our plan for leaving the lockdown will set out our approach for reopening schools.
"If we achieve our target of vaccinating everyone in the four most vulnerable groups, with their first dose by February 15, and every passing day sees more progress towards that goal.
"Then those groups that have developed immunity from the virus about three weeks later, that is, by the March 8, we hope it will therefore be safe to begin the reopening of schools from Monday, March 8.
"With other economical and social restrictions being removed then or thereafter as and when the data permits."
The PM vowed "the first sign of normality" would be schools reopening.
And said getting children back into classrooms was a "national priority".
Mr Johnson said "much more" would be clearer about the effect of the vaccine by mid-February and once the 13 million most at-risk Brits have had a jab, ministers will look at reopening schools.
He added: "By mid-February we will also know how many people are still in hospital with Covid, which we simply can't predict with certainty today.
"So we will then be in a better position to chart a course out of lockdown, without risking a further surge that would overwhelm the NHS."
Scotland: Possibly mid-February
Nicola Sturgeon has announced that most of Scotland’s school and nursery pupils will not return to classrooms on 1 February.
The country’s schools did not reopen after the Christmas holidays, as part of the fresh lockdown introduced at the beginning of January.
The First Minister made her much-anticipated announcement on schools reopening on Tuesday 19 January.
Addressing the Scottish Parliament, Ms Sturgeon said schools would not reopen until at least the middle of February.
This decision will be reviewed again on 2 February, with Ms Sturgeon saying a firmer timetable for getting pupils back to classrooms will be published after that date.
England: Possibly March 8 or April
Schools will remain shut until at least March 8.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said he "hopes" kids can get back in the classroom by EASTER – but couldn't make a guarantee.
He said any decision would be made on the scientific advice.
Wales: Possibly mid-February
Schools may be given two weeks' notice before classrooms are reopened to all pupils, the Welsh education minister has said.
The majority of Wales' pupils have been told they could be learning at home until at least mid-February, after schools closed ahead of the Christmas holiday break.
Kirsty Williams said officials would be looking to prioritise some pupils' return to class during the pandemic.
Schools are set to remain closed, apart from for vulnerable children and those of key workers, until half-term unless Covid-19 rates fall significantly.
Ms Williams said she hoped to be able to give notice.
Northern Ireland: Possibly mid-February or March 5
Education Minister Peter Weir hopes the Executive can update schools “next week” on whether or not they can reopen.
Northern Ireland’s schools are due to open their doors after the mid-term break in February, but that was thrown into doubt after First Minister Arlene Foster confirmed that the current lockdown regulations have been extended until March 5.
Speaking alongside deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill during Thursday’s Covid-19 press conference in Dungannon, Mrs Foster explained that the regulations will be reviewed again on or before February 18.
Ms O’Neill added that “there may well need to be” further restrictions after March 5.
Will it be compulsory to send my child back to school?
Yes. It will be against the law for all but a small number of exceptions to not send your kids back to school when they reoen.
In September last year, Mr Johnson said it would be "the law" for kids to return to class.
He also said teaching unions – who don't want schools reopened yet due to safety fears – should "take their responsibilities seriously".
"It’s the kids from the poorer families who aren’t going back, and so you are entrenching social injustice," Mr Johnson said.
Kids who are exempt are those who are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus – those who have compromised immune systems.
It is also strongly recommended that you ensure that your children's other vaccinations are up to date.
How can I find out when my child's school is reopening?
The best way to find out when your child's school is reopening is by direct contact with the school and regular checks on the school's website.
Your local council can also be a good source of information as it will likely know whether a school in its jurisdiction is set to reopen.
Local media such as newspapers and notices can also be of use.
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