School children preparing for exams, or of primary school age, will return to class next week, the government has announced.
The cabinet office minister Michael Gove told Sky News on Monday morning that he hopes schools will reopen as planned in January.
However, he says that only secondary school pupils in years 11 and 13, as well as primary school pupils and children of key workers will return on January 4.
All other school children will come back to school a week later on January 11, after a week of remote learning.
The decision to keep schools open during December came under scrutiny, after the rising cases of COVID-19 and the resulting rise in tiered lockdown restrictions.
Schools can still remain open under the highest level of coronavirus measures, even in tier 4 lockdown, as per government guidance.
On the final week of term before the Christmas holidays, Lincolnshire County Council said that 21 schools had reported positive COVID-19 results between December 10 and 16.
As of Thursday, December 17, the council also said that infection rate in school age children stood at 195 cases per 100,000 in Lincolnshire, compared to 234 per 100,000 in all ages.
Mr Gove said things will be kept under review, but as of now “that is the plan.”
“Teachers and headteachers have been working incredibly hard over the Christmas period, since schools broke up, in order to prepare for a new testing regime – community testing in order to make sure that children and all of us are safer.”
The decision for year 11 and 13 pupils was made in order to allow students doing their A-levels, GCSEs and BTECs to continue studies from school.
Vulnerable children who are in need of support and care provided by schools are also on the list of returning pupils.