Schools in the UK closed more than a month ago, on Friday, March 20. Ever since, there have been discussions on how students will be let back into schools once it’s safe to do so. Last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made the decision to reopen schools in the country after global praise of the country’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. Playgrounds began reopening in Germany last week, and pupils aged 11 and 12 are due to return to school in a staggered system starting next week. This follows decisions by Denmark and Norway to open some schools, while grandparents in Switzerland have been told they are allowed to hug grandchildren under 10, following a ruling by the country’s health ministry that it was safe to do so.
What could schools look like in the UK after lockdown?
Children in Germany are returning to schools as part of the country’s easing of coronavirus lockdown rules.
Zoos, museums and hair salons are also expected to open in the near future.
However, Ms Merkel has warned of a potential new outbreak should people forget to abide by strict social distancing rules.
Pupils aged 11 and 12 started going back late last week and primary schools are expected to go back this week.
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These are Germany’s first cautious steps to reopen schools since the lockdown closed everything down in March.
Authorities fear, however, that lifting the measures too soon could lead to another wave of infections.
Only students who are close to finishing their primary or secondary school education will have been allowed to return to class, according to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
While other pupils are expected to follow in the coming days, nurseries remain closed at this stage.
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All 16 German states are expected to gradually reopen their playgrounds this week, which have been closed in a bid to limit the spread of the virus.
Photos have emerged of pupils in classrooms wearing masks, sitting desks apart from other children and abiding by social distancing measures.
The German government has said social distancing measures such as wearing face masks and gloves while shopping and on public transport, will remain in place until at least May 10.
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When will schools reopen in the UK?
Under Government plans, students in years 10 and 12 will go back to school as early as next month as part of a staggered system.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to reveal the Government’s “road map” for easing lockdown restriction on Sunday, in which he will address the reopening of schools.
Sources told The Sun that getting children back in class is central to Government planning, but one stressed: “It’s still some way off. It’s far too early to put a date on it.
“Schools will be out for a little longer yet but they’re definitely a top priority.”
In April, headteachers from all over the UK said schools should not open before June 1 at the earliest.
Schools have been closed since March 18, three days before the Government announced a nationwide lockdown.
A source added: “Ministers are determined to give every child the chance to get back into the classroom in some form before schools break up for the summer.”
Meanwhile, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said he is “giving a lot of consideration” to reopening schools in staggered stages.
Mr Williamson has requested advice from SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) on how to get children back in the classroom.
He told MPs: “When we bring schools back – and I think everyone wants to see schools returning – they will be returned in a phased manner.
“All schools returning on day one with a full complement of pupils will not be realistic.”
He told the Education Select Committee that the date of reopening depended on SAGE advice, but emphasised that schools would get “as much notice as possible”.
Mr Williamson also clarified children and teachers would not have to work through the six-week summer holidays.
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