Boris Johnson has hinted schools in England may not reopen on time next month, as some fear they could be closed indefinitely.
The Prime Minister sparked fears after failing to guarantee whether students would be back by January 11.
It comes after minsters warned a new strain of the coronavirus pandemic is “out of control”.
What did Boris Johnson say about schools closing?
At a press conference in Downing Street last night (December 21), the PM explained that he wanted to stick to the plan of a staggered start for schools “if we possibly can”.
He said: “Obviously we want if we possibly can to get schools back in a staggered way in January in the way we have set out.
“But the common sense thing to do is follow the path of the pandemic and keep things under constant review.
“It is very important to get kids and keep kids in education as much as you possibly can.”
Meanwhile, the Government’s chief scientific advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance, added: “The doubling time of this infection, with the variant, is quite fast.
“It’s more transmissible, it does require more action in order to keep it down and that’s why tier 4 important.
It is very important to get kids and keep kids in education as much as you possibly can
“What we did see in areas that had lower restrictions you could still see growth in some places.”
He went on: “So it is the case that the measures needed to try to make sure we reduce contact, to make sure we don’t give the virus the chance to spread, are even more important with the new virus.”
Can the new COVID strain affect children?
According to scientists, the new mutant strain of coronavirus can more easily affect children.
Data suggests there is a higher chance the virus can be spread amongst young people.
Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, explained: “There is a hint that it is has a higher propensity to infect children.
“That may perhaps explain some of the differences but we haven’t established any sort of causality on that but we can see that in the data.”
What did the public say about schools closing?
Brits flocked to Twitter to comment on whether schools should be closed.
One said: “I get that there are compelling reasons for not closing schools, but if Covid numbers are the primary concern at the moment, then it seems crazy to keep them open.”
A second suggested: “Closing schools is the answer. I’m not saying for everyone but for children who are old enough to attend online classes such as year 7 and up.”
It comes after the PM refused to rule out the possibility of Tier 4 restrictions “lasting until Easter”.
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