Downing Street confirms schools will not break up early for Christmas due to Omicron fears

November 29, 2021, 12:35

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Downing Street has confirmed that schools will not break up for the Christmas holidays early as concerns rise over the new Covid-19 variant Omicron.

Trade unions had called on Boris Johnson to close schools early after it was revealed that the new Omicron variant had been discovered in the UK.

But today, Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi said classrooms were the “best place” for students to be, while the prime minister’s spokesman confirmed that closing schools early was “not something we want to do”.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said children would not be exempted from isolation for 10 days after coming into contact with the new variant of coronavirus.

Asked if children could be exempted, he said: “That is not what we are proposing. We believe our measures strike the balance between keeping children in face-to-face learning while ensuring that educational environments remain as safe as possible while we are investigating this new variant.

“As I have said before, education remains one of our top priorities. So of course we will keep all measures under review.”

The spokesman added that the government did not want to close schools early for Christmas.

“We have seen how disruptive some of the restrictions can be and we have always taken steps to keep the schools open until we have absolutely no other choice,” he said.

This happens after students aged seven and over have been asked to wear face masks in common areas to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said the government’s approach to wearing masks in public spaces was “proportional”.

On why the government had not decided to make masks mandatory in pubs and restaurants, the spokesman said: “We believe this is a measured and proportionate approach based on the evidence we have so far.

“It seems likely, but it is not certain that this variant is more transmissible than previous variants, but we have no hard evidence and no one actually has any hard evidence for its impact on things like hospitalizations and deaths and individuals vaccinated. .

“So we think this is the proportionate approach to take in the current circumstances.”

Asked if the reason for the decision was that people should use public transport and go to shops, while the use of pubs and nightclubs is more voluntary, the spokesman added: “People will use public transport, of course people will go into the shops. Where there are crowded “and there are particular challenges around hospitality in terms of people eating and drinking,” the minister said this morning. “

This story is being updated

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