Kids might not all go back to school until February as scientists fear making changes over winter, it is feared.
Earlier this week the Government dropped plans for all primary school kids to go back for a month before the summer.
Instead it’s now the aim for all kids – both primary and secondary – to return by September for them to start the new academic year.
Boris Johnson said yesterday it’s his “ambition” to get all children back in the classrooms.
But the rate of infection was not yet low enough to get everyone in.
Class sizes have been capped at 15 and will prove a limitation to getting more kids in.
However, earlier this week Matt Hancock admitted it was still uncertain they will be able to go back for September as planned.
The Health Secretary signalled pupils might be stuck at home for months to come, with secondary schools reopening in September “at the earliest”.
And one official at the heart of coronavirus-making policy told The Spectator that the feared if schools were not opened by September then they could be pushed back into next year: “If Sage are this cautious going into summer, then they are not going to want to play fast and loose with the R number heading into winter.”
Today No10 said that the Nightingale hospitals would be kept for the meantime, amid fears of a renewed wave over the winer.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the hospitals remained an “important surge capacity”.
“We may still need Nightingale hospitals for the months ahead. We will maintain that extra capacity until such time as there is more certainty,” the spokesman added.
Yesterday Government scientists revealed their fears of a deadly second wave in the winter which could throw a spanner in the works to kids’ education and the wider recovery,
Sir Patrick said last night that scientists were looking carefully at how lockdown was managed “should this happen again in the winter.”
Professor Whitty said: “We have to accept that we could find ourselves in one of three situations.
“One is where we have a situation where (the virus) starts to escape control.”
“The aim is that we (ease measures) very slowly to prevent that from happening but that’s the risk.
“The second situation is (the virus returning in winter) and we all think there is a a reasonable chance that in the winter this virus will have some advantages it doesn’t have the rest of the year.
“It’s something that transmits more easily indoors.
“Therefore, things that are working well in summer and autumn may cease to be working as well in winter.
“The nature of new epidemics is very often they come in waves, circling around the world and if we get hit by another wave.
“At that point we need to understand better what is the optimal mix of things we can do.”
One of the Government’s key tests for lifting lockdown is ensuring the NHS will be able to cope – but as the nights start to draw in and more people fall ill with regular winter viruses, the health service could start to falter again.
Today No10 said again that the threat level for the virus had not reduced down from four to three as was predicted.
Some moves to ease the lockdown have been made – such as reopening schools for some pupils and plans to open shops next week – but that is because Boris Johnson has ensured the five tests have been met.