To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment the potential merits of allowing each primary school year group to return to school in-person on a part-time, rota basis when the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown measures are eased.
The Department is committed to getting all pupils and students back into schools and colleges full time, as soon as the public health picture allows, in terms of the spread of the virus in communities and the pressures on the NHS. In doing so, the Department will be guided by scientific and medical experts. Data and evidence are considered regularly, including that from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, the Joint Biosecurity Centre, Public Health England, and the Chief Medical Officers.
In the week commencing 22 February 2021, the Government will publish a plan for taking the country out of lockdown. Our aim will be to set out a gradual approach towards easing the restrictions in a sustainable way, guided by the principles we have observed throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, beginning with the most important principle of all: that reopening schools must be our national priority. We have committed to providing schools, parents and young people with a minimum of two weeks’ notice for this return to on-site provision. Additional pupils and students will return to on-site education on 8 March 2021 at the earliest.