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COVID-19: All schools in England to reopen on 8 March as PM plots course to ease lockdown

Written by on 21 February 2021

All schools in England will reopen to all pupils on 8 March under the prime minister’s roadmap out of lockdown to be announced tomorrow, with outdoor after-school sports and activities also allowed to restart.

And on the same date, outdoor recreation with one other person will also be permitted, meaning people will be allowed to sit together in a park with a coffee, drink or picnic.

Follow live coverage on Sky News on Monday as the PM is expected to address the House of Commons at 3.30pm and lead a Downing Street news conference at 7pm

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What will be the impact of opening up?

From 29 March, larger groups will be able to meet outside – including in private gardens – up to a maximum of six people or two households.

Tennis courts, golf courses and other outdoor sport facilities will also reopen on 29 March, which is the first Monday of most schools’ Easter holidays.

At the same time, organised adults and children’s sport, including grassroots football, will restart.

The relaxation of measures is the first stage of a four-part roadmap expected to include the reopening of non-essential retail and hospitality in the coming months.

But restrictions will be eased step-by-step across the whole of England, avoiding a return to the previous system of regional tiers.

Boris Johnson is due to announce his plan to the House of Commons on Monday afternoon, before leading a Downing Street news conference at 7pm. MPs will vote on the regulations in the coming weeks.

Analysis: Why many people will be disappointed when they hear PM’s lockdown lifting plan

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Professor on ease of lockdown and schools

The prime minister is expected to stress that to progress to each stage, four tests must be passed:

1. The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.

2. Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.

3. Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

4. Our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of concern.

You can read more on how these tests might be judged here.

In a statement ahead of the announcement, Mr Johnson said: “Our priority has always been getting children back into school which we know is crucial for their education as well as their mental and physical wellbeing, and we will also be prioritising ways for people to reunite with loved ones safely.

“Our decisions will be made on the latest data at every step, and we will be cautious about this approach so that we do not undo the progress we have achieved so far and the sacrifices each and every one of you has made to keep yourself and others safe.”

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