The entire coming school year could be "compromised" due to coronavirus, an eduction boss has warned.
The warning comes just a few days after Boris Johnson reopened schools to reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils.
Some were turned away at the school gates as teachers revealed they "weren't ready" to reaccept pupils.
Parents of others reportedly kept their kids at home due to fears surrounding their safety and the transmission of the virus.
Now Murray Morrison, education expert and founder of online learning program Tassomai, has claimed the disruption could last for another year.
He told ED!: "I'm hopeful things will return to the 'old normal' before long. Although that length of time might seem like forever."
Entire year "compromised"Murray added: "I suspect that the entire coming academic year will be compromised to some extent as schools occasionally have to deal with local outbreaks of coronavirus." He said "access to distance learning tools will have to be a fundamental part of schools' provision". Murray added that his hope of a "return to normal" is based "perhaps overly-optimistically on there being some viable vaccine in due course". He also said it could happen if the rate of infection fell to such a level that school teachers and children "do not face any material health risk from going back to business as usual".
Murray isn't surprised that some parents have decided to keep them at home.
"Tough for parents""The worries about the level of safety, and all the attendant anxieties about whether their children are following the guidelines, will inevitably be tough for parents," he said. "It's not surprising that, for schools that have reopened fully for some year groups, class attendance is far below 100%," he added.
I'm hopeful things will return to the 'old normal' before long. Although that length of time might seem like forever."
As far as classroom changes go, things will feel "extremely alien" for a while.
Murray said schools have "increased hand-washing, limited playtime on rotas, removed many of the normal props of education like equipment and gluesticks, and even staggered start and finish times".
He added: "Things taken for granted like classroom layouts and lunch in the canteen will be completely different now."
Social distancing tips
The education expert also had some tips on how to explain social distancing to children.
He said: "Honesty is always the best policy. Even reception-aged children can accept that because of a bug that's going around, we all need to keep ourselves apart and regularly wash our hands."
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