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Educational Institutions: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Education

UIN 134507, tabled on 8 January 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the criteria is for reopening schools and educational settings during the covid-19 outbreak in England.

Answered on

13 January 2021

Head teachers, teachers, and staff of schools and other education settings have been doing an extraordinary job to remain open, keep settings safe, and provide education for vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers.

We know that receiving face to face education is best for children’s mental health and for their educational achievement. We have resisted restrictions on attendance at schools and other education settings since the first lockdown but, in the face of the rapidly rising numbers of cases across the country and intense pressure on the NHS, we now need to use every lever at our disposal to reduce all our social contacts wherever possible. Limiting attendance during the national lockdown is about supporting the reduction of the overall number of social contacts in our communities.

During the period of national lockdown, schools, colleges and wraparound childcare and other out of school activities for pupils and students should allow only vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers to attend. All other pupils and students should not attend and should learn remotely until February half term. Early years provision should continue to remain open and should continue to allow all children to attend full time or their usual timetable hours.

Only university students doing medical, clinical and healthcare related subjects, including nursing, social care, dentistry and veterinary studies should return to face to face teaching as planned. Most students should not return to university and should study from their current residence, where possible, until at least mid-February.

On an exceptional basis, universities should consider supporting the return of students who may need to return earlier for other reasons, for example, students who do not have access to appropriate accommodation, facilities, studying space, or that need to return for health reasons.

We will continue to review the restrictions on schools, colleges and universities and will ensure that children and young people return to face to face education as soon as possible.

Named day
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