Boris Johnson has admitted schools may not reopen after the February semester.
In his meeting with the Liaison Committee today (January 13), the Prime Minister stressed that the government’s priority is to ensure that children return to classrooms “as soon as possible”.
However, that depends on the success of the vaccine launch – and the possible discovery of new variants that are resistant to the bite.
He said: “If we can do what we want to do with the vaccination program, the priority is to open schools as soon as possible.
“Whether we can do that after half-time in mid-February or whether we can start depends on a number of things.”
He continued: “It depends on the success of the vaccination program, it depends on us not finding out that, for example, the South African or Brazilian variants are immune-resistant, it depends on us not finding out anything else about the disease that leaves recalculate us. “
The Prime Minister said there was “no evidence” that any of the new strains were vaccine resistant.
“But,” he added, “this has to go well and the bottom line is that the general lockdown measures have to continue to work.
The prime minister said there were “some early signs” of progress in curbing virus growth – but added that it is “far too early to say that this means we can go into any kind of relaxation in mid-February “.
Earlier, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson had told MPs he wanted to reopen schools as soon as possible, but admitted students may be forced to stay at home in “some areas of particular concern”.
Elementary and secondary schools in England were closed during the third national lockdown after a last-minute U-turn by the government.