Michael Gove has confirmed that only primary school children, children of key workers and secondary school children in years 11 and 13 will go back to school on January 4. The Cabinet minister told Sky News that other children will be taught remotely for at least the first week. This is due to the Government’s plan to stagger school reopenings as part of their coronavirus strategy.
Michael Gove said the Government hopes the staggered reopening of schools in England will go ahead in January as planned.
“We always keep things under review but teachers and head teachers have been working incredibly hard over the Christmas period since schools broke up in order to prepare for a new testing regime – community testing – in order to make sure that children and all of us are safer,” he told Sky News.
“We do keep things under review but that is the plan.”
The president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine has warned hospitals were “wall to wall” with Covid-19 patients on Christmas Day.
One university lecturer praised Gove’s decision to delay children’s return to school: “Is it more infectious and disease causing in the younger age groups. We must have contingency plans in place now in case this comes to be true. How are we going to continue with education remotely and keep the children safe and not drive up the R number.”
Dr Katherine Henderson told BBC Breakfast: “We see patients who are coming in who have Covid symptoms and then we have other people coming in with other symptoms who turn out to be Covid positive.
“Between that, there’s a great deal of difficulty getting those patients through into the wards.”
Professor Jackie Taylor, President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, said London and the south-east are now experiencing what Scotland went through in the autumn.
“Our busiest time in the second wave was in October and November, so the pressure that London and the South East is currently under we’ve already endured in October and November.
“We are still seeing significant amounts of patients with Covid and large amounts of standard respiratory infections and other emergency that we see at this time of year that mount up to a standard winter pressure.”