U.K. Schools could shut for a month from next Friday

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(walesonline.co.uk) – Teachers have been told to prepare home-learning packs for students.

Schools across the UK could shut down for a month from next Friday and teachers have been told to prepare home-learning kits for their students.

Boris Johnson will chair a meeting of Cobra on Thursday and is expected to sign off moving the UK to the next phase of fighting coronavrus – switching from contain to delay.

Now Covid-19 has breached containment teachers across the country have been told to prepare packs so pupils can learn at home, reports The Mirror .

Schools are also drawing up lists of which students do and don’t have internet access at home so work can be set and completed remotely.

The closure on March 20 would continue through the Easter holiday – meaning schools could be shut for four weeks.

The Government may consider shortening the Easter break, or cancelling May half-term, in a bid to make up the lost learning days.

Workers are expected to go into schools during the shutdown to perform deep cleans.

In Wales, the Welsh Government is advising schools on the disease and how to prevent it.

They say: “If a confirmed case occurs in an educational setting the local Health Protection Team will provide advice and will work with the head teacher, principal and or management team of that setting.

“Outside those that are defined as close contacts, the rest of the school, childcare or education setting does not need to take any precautions or make any changes to their own activities attending establishments or work as usual, unless they become unwell.”

The latest advice is likely to be updated on Thursday afternoon when a press conference is held.

One teacher said: “We have had guidance from our head of the academy who has been told to expect at least a week-long closure, possibly two.

“If schools are closed from mid-March, it wouldn’t make sense to open them up again so close to Easter. We’re preparing for a month at home.

“The home-learning packs have to be all ready by this Friday, with the aim of sending them home with the kids the following Friday.”

Some schools start their Easter breaks on March 27, others will break up a week later unless the enforced closure is enacted.

If it happens, the two week closure would be followed by two weeks of holiday – unless half the Easter break is scrapped.

Another teacher at a school in the north of England said they had been ordered to get emergency plans underway.

They told the Mirror: “We have been told an extended Easter break is a very real possibility if the virus spread continues at the predicted rate.

“We are now preparing for that eventuality. But this will not mean two weeks’ extra holiday.

“Schools in our local authority area – both primary and secondary – are drawing up plans for children to be given lessons at home.

“This will come in the shape of material drawn up by staff in advance in the form of set work from the curriculum on paper and also online work.

“Schools are drawing up lists of all children who have access to the internet at home even if it is via a parent or guardian’s phone.

“This is the best option as work can be submitted and marked by teachers also working from home.

“We have also been told that schools will also undergo a deep clean to ensure there is no chance of any lingering traces of the virus.”

More than 240,000 people have signed a petition calling on the government to shut down schools across the UK.

The petition, started by Sami Attout, urges Boris Johnson to announce the closures to prevent the spread of Covid19.

#closetheschools was trending on social media as people raised their fears about the spread of the virus in school buildings.

Earlier this week London mayoral candidate Rory Stewart demanded schools close to protect Britons.

The ex-cabinet minister said the government should not shy away from taking an economic hit if it means safeguarding the population.

Boris Johnson is set to sign off on moving the UK into the delay phase for battling coronavirus during an emergency Government meeting.

When Cobra meets on Thursday lunchtime, the Prime Minister is expected to advance preparations for combating the deadly virus by switching to tactics designed to delay its spread rather than contain the disease.

It comes after the global Covid-19 outbreak was categorised as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation and eight people in the UK were confirmed to have died after contracting the illness.

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