Millions return to class as England reopens schools after virus lockdown
Millions of English children headed back to school on Monday after their second extended stretch of home learning because of a strict national lockdown to slow the spread of Covid-19.
The reopening of English schools to all pupils is the first step in a four-stage government plan to ease the lockdown while trying to prevent a new surge in infections after a devastating winter wave that severely strained hospitals.
Since the start of the pandemic, Britain has recorded 124,500 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test, the fifth highest official death toll in the world and the worst in Europe.
For adults in England, the lockdown remains in force, with social contact severely restricted, people under orders to stay at home except for essential reasons, most shops closed, and cafés and restaurants able to offer only takeaway or delivery.
“Getting all schools back has been our priority and the first step of our roadmap back to normality,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter.
Today pupils return to schools in England.
I want to thank teachers, parents, guardians and carers for the work you have done to keep kids learning throughout the pandemic.
Getting all schools back has been our priority and the first step of our roadmap back to normality.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) March 8, 2021
The reopening of schools is a huge relief to millions of parents who have spent months juggling work and full-time childcare.
Primary school pupils return to their classrooms and playgrounds with some Covid-19 rules, such as not being able to socialise with children outside a strictly defined “bubble”, staggered arrivals and departures, and frequent hand-washing.
For secondary schools and their pupils, the requirements are more onerous. Teenagers are being mass-tested for Covid-19 – a huge undertaking for schools – and are required to wear face coverings in class.
The government has distributed nearly 57 million rapid “lateral flow” test kits to schools across the country, but there are concerns about the accuracy of the tests, which may result in pupils being forced to self-isolate unnecessarily…..read more