Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, who has said schools will be given a minimum of two weeks’ notice to plan their reopening.
The government has been non-committal with regards to schools reopening after the Easter holidays, increasing the chances of further home-schooling.
Date for reopening schools unknown
A senior government source said that although the data was showing a decrease in Covid infections, rates were not dropping as much as anticipated. The source added that the picture had become “more pessimistic” this last week with regards to the government’s ability to ease restrictions soon.
Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, who has said schools will be given a minimum of two weeks’ notice to plan their reopening, wants to give teachers and parents an update this week. It is though that schools will open after Easter at the very latest despite the government initially targeting a return after the February half term holidays.
Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said that any easing of lockdown restrictions was a “long, long, long way off” and said the UK was still in a dire situation adding that “You can see the pressure on the NHS – you can see it every day,” during an interview with Sky News.
Hancock would not give a timeframe for a return for all pupils to regular schooling neither committing to mid-February nor after Easter.
In a separate interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, he said: “We’re really clear we want to get schools back and as safe as we can, but we have to watch the data. Of course I hope schools go back after Easter and the vaccination programme is going fast. But we’ve got to make sure that we get the cases down and we’ve got to protect the country from new variants coming in from abroad.”