Prime Minister Boris Johnson hopes schools in England can reopen on Monday March 8th.
In an announcement in the House of Commons on Wednesday, he said the hope of reopening immediately after half-time was not possible.
But he hoped there would be enough immunity to the vaccination project to reopen schools on March 8th.
Boris Johnson told Commons: “The first sign of a return to normal should be students returning to their classrooms. I know how parents and teachers need as much security as possible, including a two week notice to return classroom classes.
“That is why I have to inform the house that, for the reasons I have explained, it will not be possible to reopen the schools in February immediately after the six months. But I know how frustrating this will be for students and teachers who want nothing more than to get back to the classroom.
“And for parents and caregivers who have spent so many months juggling their day-to-day jobs, not just with school at home, but also fulfilling their children’s myriad other needs from breakfast to bed.”
Mr Johnson told MPs: “I know the actions I propose today will be deeply frustrating to many honorable friends and colleagues and disappointing to all of us.
“But the way forward has been clear since the vaccines arrived. As we are vaccinating more people hour by hour, this is the time to hold your nerve in the endgame of the battle against the virus.
“Our goal now must be to buy the extra weeks we need to immunize the weakest and get this virus under control so that together we can conquer this most wretched disease and reclaim our lives once and for all.”
He said the roadmap for leaving the lockdown, which will include the plan to reopen schools in England, will be released the week of February 22nd.
Scotland is hoping to begin gradual reopening of schools after the February semester if coronavirus rates continue to fall. Northern Ireland and Wales have not yet said when they plan to reopen schools.
Mr Johnson said children who are eligible for grocery packages or vouchers will be given them until they return to school.
He said, “As we are extending the distance learning period beyond mid-February, I can confirm that the government is extending the rules for providing free school meals to eligible children out of school, including grocery packs and the national voucher system, until then will be returned to school. “
Mr Johnson also said a “catch-up program” would be in place for both high school students and summer schools.
He added, “We will have a catch-up program in the next fiscal year that will include an additional £ 300 million in new money for schools for tuition.
“And we will work with the education sector to develop specific initiatives for summer schools and the Covid premium to support the catch-up process.”