Boris Johnson announces date when Portsmouth schools could reopen to all pupils

The Prime Minister has announced that schools will remain closed after February half-term.

Wednesday, 27th January 2021, 1:54 pm

However Boris Johnson told MPs that he hoped it would be safe to begin reopening them on Monday, March 8.

Speaking in the House of Commons he said it would not be possible to reopen schools ‘immediately after the February half term’.

The Prime Minister explained: ‘The first sign of normality beginning to return should be pupils going back to their classrooms. I know how parents and teachers need as much certainty as possible including two weeks’ notice of the return of face-to-face teaching.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson, making a statement to the Commons updating MPs in the House of Commons, London, on the latest situation with the Coronavirus pandemic. Picture: House of Commons/PA Wire

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‘So I must inform the House that for the reasons I have outlined it will not be possible to reopen schools immediately after the February half-term. But I know how frustrating that will be for pupils and teachers who want nothing more than to get back to the classroom.

‘And for parents and for carers who spent so many months juggling their day jobs, not only with home schooling but meeting the myriad other demands of their children from breakfast until bedtime.’

He continued: ‘So far our efforts do appear to have reduced the R rate but we do not yet have enough data to know exactly how soon it will be safe to reopen our society and economy.

‘What we do know is that we remain in a perilous situation with more than 37,000 patients now in hospital with Covid, almost double the peak of the first wave, but the overall picture should be clearer by mid-February. By then we will know much more about the effect of vaccines in preventing hospitalisations and deaths.’

He went on: ‘So I can tell the House that when Parliament returns from recess in the week commencing 22nd February subject to the full agreement of the House, we intend to set out the results of that review and publish our plan for taking the country out of lockdown.

‘That plan will of course depend on the continued success of our vaccination programme, the capacity of the NHS and on deaths falling at the pace we would expect as more people are inoculated.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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