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As a result of the huge efforts everyone has made to adhere to strict social distancing measures, the transmission rate of coronavirus (COVID-19) has decreased. We therefore anticipate, with further progress, that we may be able to welcome back more children to early years, school and further education settings from the week commencing 1 June 2020. We will only do this provided that the five key tests set by government justify the changes at the time, including that the rate of infection is decreasing. As a result we are asking schools, colleges and childcare providers to plan on this basis, ahead of confirmation that these tests are met.
From the week commencing 1 June 2020 at the earliest, we will be asking primary schools to welcome back children in Nursery, Reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside priority groups (vulnerable children and children of critical workers). We will ask secondary schools, sixth form and further education colleges to offer some face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of year 10 and year 12 (and equivalent) students who are due to take key exams next year, alongside the provision they are offering to priority groups.
Regarding the re-opening of universities, the department expects universities, as autonomous institutions, to make their own judgements based on the latest Public Health England guidance. Universities are continuing to provide high quality teaching online. We are working with the higher education sector to develop guidance and best practice that will be needed for universities to make informed decisions about their provision.
Additionally, we have also provided guidance to parents and carers about schools and education settings during the coronavirus outbreak: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers.