Coronavirus pandemic ‘to close British schools for one month at Easter’

British schools are preparing to close for a month over the Easter period as the coronavirus pandemic deepens.

The news of the shock closures were announced tonight, as schools across the UK were briefed on plans to close their doors for an extra fortnight over the Easter break.

It comes as teachers have been requested to prepare home-learning packs for students, and school heads are instructed to lockdown schools on March 20, ahead of the Easter break.

Online learning may also be an option for some families, as schools are being made to make lists of households who have access to the internet. The plan is for work to be set via online education platforms that pupils can log-on to remotely.

The plans, reported by The Mirror , would mean families may have to make emergency childcare provisions.

More than 240,000 people have signed a petition calling on the government to shut down schools across the UK.

The petition, started by Sami Attout, urges Boris Johnson to announce the closures to prevent the spread of Covid19.

The Mirror report teaching sources have reported they have told the ‘home-learning packs’ must be ready to send out by Friday.

One teacher said: “We have had guidance from our head of the academy who has been told to expect at least a week-long closure, possibly two.

“If schools are closed from mid-March, it wouldn’t make sense to open them up again so close to Easter. We’re preparing for a month at home.

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“The home-learning packs have to be all ready by this Friday, with the aim of sending them home with the kids the following Friday.”

Another teacher at a school in the north of England said they had been ordered to get emergency plans underway.

They told the Mirror: “We have been told an extended Easter break is a very real possibility if the virus spread continues at the predicted rate.

“We are now preparing for that eventuality. But this will not mean two weeks’ extra holiday.

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“Schools in our local authority area – both primary and secondary – are drawing up plans for children to be given lessons at home.

“This will come in the shape of material drawn up by staff in advance in the form of set work from the curriculum on paper and also online work.

“Schools are drawing up lists of all children who have access to the internet at home even if it is via a parent or guardian’s phone.

“This is the best option as work can be submitted and marked by teachers also working from home.

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“We have also been told that schools will also undergo a deep clean to ensure there is no chance of any lingering traces of the virus.”

Sources said any enforced closure would almost certainly not take place until the end of next week.

The packs include coursework for GCSE and A-Level students and curriculum-based learning for younger children.

Workers are also expected to go into schools during the shutdown to perform ‘deep cleans’.

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