Boris Johnson keeps schools open as coronavirus crisis escalates

Boris Johnson says UK schools will remain open despite increasing calls for closures as the coronavirus crisis worsens.

The government has urged Brits to practice social distancing and avoid mass gatherings, creating some confusion about why schools haven't been closed.

At a press conference this afternoon the Prime Minister said the government's position in regards to schools is "under continuous review" but would not say that schools would be closed.

He said if schools are closed, the government will make sure that children who rely on free school meals don't go hungry.

Live updates on COVID-19 cases near you

England: 1,950

  • London: 480
  • South East: 173
  • Midlands: 129
  • North East and Yorkshire: 86
  • North West: 83
  • East of England: 81
  • South West: 77

Scotland: 171

Wales: 124

Teachers have expressed anger over Johnson's reluctance to close schools, and Europe's largest education union wrote him a letter demanding he take action.

National Education Union joint general secretaries Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney wrote that there was an "apparent contradiction" between banning mass gatherings and keeping schools open.

They advised union members who are in the "high risk" group to stop attending school or college for the foreseeable future.

Some schools in England have been forced to partially or fully close as staff and students stay at home.

Headteachers say they were blindsided by the government's announcement on Monday that the British public should avoid non-essential contact with others, and claim they've received almost no advice from the Department for Education about coping with staff shortages or why they need to stay open.

The UK is one of just two European countries not to introduce a policy of closing schools during the coronavirus pandemic. The other is Belarus.

  • Boris Johnson
  • Coronavirus

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