All schools across the UK will be closed after Friday as Britain desperately tries to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson told MPs this afternoon that schools will shut from Friday “until further notice” for all children – except to those of key workers and vulnerable kids.
Johnson said they also need to keep the NHS going. So health workers who are parents will have to continue to go to work.
And other workers, like police officers and people who deliver the food we need. So provision will be made for the children of these key workers, he said. And the most vulnerable children will have to be looked after.
There will be fewer children in schools. That will slow the spread of the disease. Johnson said nurseries and private schools are being asked to do the same, and he says he the government will reimburse the cost.
Exams won’t take place. But the government will make sure children get the qualifications they need, he said.
Johnson refuses to say how long school closures might continue
Johnson was asked How long might these closures last? The Scottish government says it could be until the public holidays?
Johnson said he hopes he can keep it to an absolute minimum. But he judges that now is the right time to place more downward pressure on the upward trajectory of the virus.
He said he wishes he could say how long this would last.
Students preparing for GCSEs and A levels
Johnson said he totally understands the frustration of these pupils. He will ensure their progress is not impeded. The government will make sure that in time they get the qualifications they need. That will be done fairly, he said.