Lockdown Relaxed in UK, Schools Reopen on 8 March
England's schools will reopen from March 8 at the earliest, Boris Johnson announced today.
The Prime Minister dashed hopes of parents, MPs and campaigners who hoped schools would begin reopening on February 22 - immediately after the February half term.
But he said he "hopes" they will begin to reopen from March 8, two weeks later than planned.
His comments mean there will be no relaxation of England's lockdown at all until March 8 - six weeks from now - because schools will be the first to reopen. That's despite him previously claiming it may lift from February 15.
The Prime Minister revealed he will publish a full roadmap for "taking the country out of lockdown" - but only in the week of February 22. Until then England will remain under strict orders to stay at home.
And he did not say today how schools will start to open their doors. It's thought primary and exam years could go back first, but the PM wants pupils to begin at the same time in different parts of the country despite claims otherwise.
Boris Johnson told a No10 press conference there must be proof measures are working before schools can reopen - and “the proof will only become visible in the middle of February.”
Because schools need two weeks’ notice to reopen, he said, “it is sensible now to serve notice that we will not be able to reopen schools immediately after half term on February 22.”
But union chiefs demanded more support for families. TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The safety of school staff and children must always come first.
“But the government needs to wake-up to the huge stress working parents are under. Many are losing out on hours and pay because of the lack of support available to them.
“Ministers must urgently give all parents the temporary right to furlough, plus at least ten days’ paid parental leave each year.
“It’s simply not sustainable to expect mums and dads to work as normal, while looking after their children and supervising schoolwork.
“As ever this burden is falling hardest on women and the low paid. Without action now many risk being pushed out of the labour market”.
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