Is This How Schools Could Re-Open In England? Wales Announce Phased Return Of Education

28 April 2020, 12:43

Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses the nation after returning to work

The plan of how to re-open schools amid the coronavirus pandemic is still undecided, but as Wales have already determined a strategy could the rest of the UK follow suit?

Schools across the UK remain shut with no re-opening date or strategy in sight as the coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep across the world.

However, Wales will reopen their schools in phases when they are finally given the go-ahead to open the gates once again.

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Some schools at the moment are only open to children of key workers and vulnerable pupils.

Wales’ Education minister Kirsty Williams said she “does not expect schools will be suddenly open for all pupils, from all years, all week.”

Wales' education minister has announced a phase return of education in schools
Wales' education minister has announced a phase return of education in schools. Picture: Getty

Instead, they may open in gradual phrases.

She explained: “Schools will not immediately return to operating at full capacity. It will be a phased approach.”

Williams has outlined five principles which will determine when and how schools in Wales will re-open.

They include the mental and physical wellbeing of schools and staff, continuing the effort to fight the spread of coronavirus, and having the confidence from parents, staff, and students so they can plan ahead.

They will also prioritise pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds at key points in each stage.

Some schools remain open for children of key workers
Some schools remain open for children of key workers. Picture: Getty
School gates remain shut amid the coronavirus pandemic
School gates remain shut amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Getty

At the moment, there isn’t yet enough evidence on how coronavirus spreads among children which is why a date of re-opening the education sector remains unknown.

Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty explained during Monday’s daily briefing “we are getting closer” to having “a narrower range of uncertainty” about the impact of opening schools.

Speaking at Downing Street, Dr Whitty said: "The final decision will be with ministers, this is not a scientific decision but what we can contribute from the science side is we've got this room for manoeuvre.

"There's a lot of what everyone is going to pulling that down. Schools are contributing some of that and it may be different from different bits of schools.

"What we are trying to do in very short order is trying to get a feel for what are the combinations of different things which keep the R below one which is an absolutely critical thing.”

Dr Whitty reminded the nation the re-opening of parts of society will have to be completed one by one, adding there will be some "difficult choices" to make.

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