THE Government has announced the temporary closure of schools in Tier 4 areas, except for children of key workers.
But who counts as a key worker and what are the requirements for children to head into school during the pandemic?
Who are key workers?
Key workers are people in roles that play a crucial part in Britain's fight against coronavirus.
The Government has named these roles which includes nurses, police officers and delivery drivers.
As a result, their children will be allowed back to school from January 4, while the rest of the nation's students will see either a staggered return to the classroom or await latest government guidelines on reopening.
Full government guidelines here.
This is how the government defines the groups of key workers:
Health and social care
This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers.
Education and childcare
This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.
Key public services
This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.
Local and national government
This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.
Food and other necessary goods
This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).
Public safety and national security
This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees and more.
This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.
Utilities, communication and financial services
This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology, data infrastructure sector and more.
Do both parents need to be key workers for their children to remain in school?
No – they do not. Children with at least one parent who is classified as a key worker will be allowed to remain in school.
A skeleton network of schools and nurseries will remain open for the children of key workers where they will be supervised during the day.
Latest on school closures due to coronavirus
The Department for Education confirmed on December 30, 2020 that a large number of primary schools in the southeast of England and London will remain closed in a bid to combat the spread of a highly transmissible new variant of the virus.
The schools will remain shut for pupils due to spiralling cases – except for vulnerable kids and children of key workers who can attend.
They will stay closed until at least January 18, and senior Ministers have admitted schools could stay shut after No 10 reviews measures that day.
A source told the Telegraph: “The closure of schools until mid-February is an entirely possible scenario.
"We don’t have the data for Christmas yet but we will by January 18 and it’s difficult to see that being an improvement.”
But students set to sit GCSEs and A-levels will return on January 11 as planned – and any January exams will go ahead.
Boris Johnson told Andrew Marr on January 3 that for those still expected to go in, parents should send their children to school from January 4.
Early years like nurseries will remain open nationally, as will alternative provision and special schools.
Students going back to university should stay home if they can – and only those who need to attend for practical learning should go back.
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