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Reopening schools national effort to beat Covid: UK PM

London:¬†UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the reopening of schools in England as a “national effort” to beat coronavirus, even though some experts warned that the country is still not “out of the woods”.

On February 22, Johnson had announced his long-anticipated “roadmap” exiting the lockdown, under which schools in England are scheduled to reopen from March 15 as the first part of the four-step plan, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the Prime Minister, the plan was designed to be “cautious but irreversible”.

Under the guidance, secondary schools students across England are to receive three Covid-19 lateral-flow tests before using at-home kits twice a week.

Speaking to Sky News, Johnson said: “The reopening of schools marks a truly national effort to beat this virus.

“It is because of the determination of every person in this country that we can start moving closer to a sense of normality — and it is right that getting our young people back into the classroom is the first step.”

However, experts have warned Britain is “still not out of the woods” amid concerns over new variants and the risks of the public breaching restriction rules.

“We have done fantastically well in the last couple of months but we are not completely out of the woods yet,” Britain’s National Statistician Ian Diamond said on March 6.

“I’m very much of the view that we should do everything we can not to blow it nationally,” Diamond added.

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UK PM’s ‘catch-up’ plan to help kids post lockdown

London: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has unveiled a 1 billion pounds ($1.24 billion) catch-up plan programmed for children who have missed school during the COVID-19 lockdown, according to the Department of Education.

The support package is aimed at giving millions of the most disadvantaged pupils access to one-to-one or small group tuition to make up for months of lost teaching time, the Metro newspaper reported on Friday.

It includes 350 million pounds for a “national tutoring programme” and 650 million pounds to be shared across state primary and secondary schools over the 2020-21 academic year, the Department said.

Head teachers will have sole discretion on how the one-off payment is spent.

In a statement, Johnson said: “This 1 billion pounds catch-up package will help head teachers to provide extra support to children who have fallen behind while out of school.

“I am determined to do everything I can to get all children back in school from September, and we will bring forward plans on how this will happen as soon as possible.”

The announcement comes after ministers were put under pressure to get children back to school amid concerns about the damage being caused to pupils’ attainment and wellbeing, said the Metro newspaper report.

But all pupils were not due to return to school until at least September after the Government was forced to abandon plans to get all primary school children back in class before the summer break.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said the new package would “bring long-term reform to the educational sector that will protect a generation from the effects of this pandemic”.(IANS)

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