After several calls for relaxation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has decided to take the first step towards a “sense of normality”.
Phased return across England is set to begin this week after more than two months since schools were closed in the latest lockdown. The phased return marks the first step of the “roadmap” out of the national lockdown which was imposed at the beginning of the year.
Measures including Covid tests and the wearing of face masks in classrooms will be enforced to ensure the safety of scholars as well as their tutors.
England’s Education Secretary Gavin Williamson described the return to school as a “moment of joy” for students who would reunite with their colleagues and teachers.
“I do not underestimate how challenging the last few months have been with some children in class and most at home, but I do know how important it is for all children to be back in school, not only for their education but for their mental health and wellbeing,” said Mr Williamson.
According to a survey from headteachers, 76 per cent of secondary schools would have phased return with different year groups in order to allow time for testing.
Geoff Barton, leader of the ASCL head teachers’ union said: “There will be a full return but it will be from – not on – Monday, 8 March”, adding that testing sites in schools would look like “field hospitals”.