The government is being urged to publish a plan for the return of students to classrooms – as new reports suggest the reopening of schools could still be some weeks away.
Ministers are coming under increasing pressure to clarify their position – with The Sunday Times claiming that schools could remain shut until after the Easter holidays.
The report includes a quote from a government source who said: “We are in this for the long haul.”
They added: “We are going to start giving parents more information so they can start managing their expectations. Although we have not arrived at an exact date when we think schools will go back, it will not be after half-term.”
An update on schools reopening is expected from the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson this week.
Williamson has yet to clarify his position on a return to the classroom, claiming he was “not able to exactly say” when students might go back – but “hoped” that this would be before Easter.
Health Minister Matt Hancock was also pressed on the matter on Sunday, providing a similar response.
“I hope that schools go back after Easter, of course I do,” he stated, but admitted that cases needed to come down before restrictions were lifted.
Students, teachers and parents have been promised a “clear two weeks” of notice to prepare for schools reopening.
MP for Altrincham & Sale West Sir Graham Brady told the BBC: “Obviously schools should be back. If necessary offer all teachers the vaccine.
“Certainly once the most vulnerable are vaccinated, there has to be a roadmap and school children should be first.”
Teachers are one of the groups being considered for vaccination priority during the next phase of the rollout.
Discussions are apparently underway as to who is next in line for jabs once the first four priority groups are vaccinated – with the government on course to meet its target of inoculating the vulnerable by mid-February.
Over 6 million people in the UK have been vaccinated so far – including three-quarters of Over 80s.