Great Britain

Schools COULD be closed again in local lockdowns, Business Secretary admits

SCHOOLS could be closed again in local lockdowns, the Business Secretary admitted today.

Alok Sharma said school closures would be looked at on a "case by case" basis if local lockdowns forced areas to follow drastic restrictions.

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Mr Sharma said the Government was standing by its decision to reopen all schools for all pupils in September.

But when pressed on whether they could be closed again after letting kids back into class again, Mr Sharma told ITV: "Clearly we will have to look at this on a case by cases basis.

"The approach is very much on looking at this on a localised level.

"Of course we want the message to be very clear that all pupils will be coming back with all pupils in September."

Schools minister Nick Gibb said earlier today class would start up again for kids living in local lockdown areas in the North - including Manchester.

But he would not rule out reimposing school closures.

He told BBC Breakfast this morning: "We're now looking locally at when we impose new restrictions - they will be locally imposed.

"But so far as the current local restrictions at the moment go including in Manchester all schools will be open in September, and indeed in other parts where there have been local lockdowns such as Leicester."

Ex-Sage scientist Professor Neil Ferguson warned today leisure centres could have to close to make sure all schools can reopen - because teens can spread Covid-19.

It comes after Nicola Sturgeon put Aberdeen into a tough lockdown - closing pubs, restaurants & cafes and reinstating rules on 5 mile travel limit.

Ms Sturgeon said she made the difficult decision to shut down the hospitality sector again from 5pm tonight so that children would still be able to go to school in Scotland next week.

Children's Commissioner for England Anne Longfield has demanded that children's educations are put before all other lockdown measures - even if that means closing pubs to keep schools open.

She called for regular testing of pupils and teachers - regardless of whether they show symptoms. 

Laying down a marker on future closures, she wrote: “If the choice has to be made in a local area about whether to keep pubs or schools open, then schools must always take priority.”

Ms Longfield's briefing paper says keeping schools open should be the "absolute priority", adding: "Education should be prioritised over other sectors: first to open, last to close.

"When only a limited amount of social interaction is feasible, the amount accounted for by education must be protected - at the expense of other sectors/activities."


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Leisure centres may have to SHUT to reopen schools as it’s revealed ‘teens could transmit coronavirus as much as adults’

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