Will schools close again?

KIDS have only been back at school since last week and the Government has now brought in new rules to curb the soaring number of coronavirus infections.

Only six people will be able to meet up at anyone time in social settings – here's what that means for schools.

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Are schools going to close again?

It's unlikely.

The Government has vowed to do everything it can to keep schools open.

And the current rules carve out an exemption on the six-person restriction for schools.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said this morning: "There are a number of exemptions, for school, because we want to protect education, for work, because workplaces already have Covid secure guidelines."

Children spent six months out of school, and many of them will be left behind academically, and their wellbeing and social skills will also be detrimentally effected if they are kept out of classrooms.

Public Health England has said the chances of children getting coronavirus at school is the same as staying at home, so the risks to kids are low.

Health officials have previously warned that mixing between older children, and parents as they move around more to drop off and pick up kids from school, could cause a spike in infections.

But even schools in local lockdown areas have been allowed to reopen and stay open despite a rising tide in infections.

What are the current rules in schools?

Masks will need to be worn by teachers in local lockdown areas..

School pupils at secondary schools in England will also have to wear masks in school corridors in local lockdown areas

Schools have been ordered to put all year groups in "protective bubbles" to minimise contact and lessen the chance of transmission.

It will involve staggered start and end times to minimise contact with other classes.

Classes will also have different lunch and break times and kids will have to regularly wash their hands.

They are also advised to look at bringing in a one-way system in corridors, or putting a divider in the middle to control the flow of kids.

What happens if there's a coronavirus outbreak?

If there is a another coronavirus outbreak, the Government has said it will do everything it can to keep schools open.

Boris Johnson said kids "life chances" were under threat if they spend more time out of class.

That might mean the Government has to close other businesses in order to protect children's education.

Closing schools has been seen by some officials as a mistake and it would be an absolute last resort for ministers to do it again.

What has the Government said?

The Government has said the new rules have been brought in to make it easier to tell when people are breaking social distancing rules.

Previously, guidance told people not to meet in groups of more than six, but the legal limit was 30.

The new restrictions make it easier for police to enforce social distancing rules in parks, indoor places, pubs and restaurants.

Mr Hancock said this morning: "The feedback from police was that we needed the rules to be super simple, so everybody knows what they are.

"You can't gather in a group of more than six.

"This will now be rigorously enforced by the police."

People who break the rules can get a fine of £100, going up to £3,200 for repeat offences.


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