How to prepare if schools are closed because of Coronavirus
9 March 2020, 13:03 | Updated: 17 March 2020, 16:41
Schools across the UK could potentially be closed because of Coronavirus - here's what to do if your child is sent home.
Pupils from schools across the UK may be sent home in the coming weeks as concerns about Coronavirus increase, as part of Boris Johnson's '12-week "battle plan" against the virus.
Advice from Public Health England is that schools should remain open unless they have confirmed cases, but some have been preparing online resources for pupils in the case that they are forced to shut down.
Italy have closed all schools and colleges for a week and a half, and some schools in the UK - in places like Oxford, Birmingham and Middlesburgh - have already shut.
How likely is it that schools will close because of Coronavirus?
Chief medical officer Chris Whitty has not ruled out a possible mass closure of schools as the Coronavirus situation worsens.
He has warned that schools could potentially be shut for 'more than two months' to help prevent spread of the virus.
Speaking about the situation last Wednesday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the "goal was to keep schools open".
Can parents take time off work to look after their children because of Coronavirus school-closures?
Parents are entitled to take time off work to look after their children in line with 'dependent leave' - however, you are not entitled to be paid for this time off, unless your employer states that you can be.
If you get paid holiday, you may be entitled to use this to look after your kids - but this is of course up to your employer.
You can take up to 18 weeks unpaid leave if your child is under 18.
Should you stockpile food?
The question of the importance of stockpiling is being increasingly asked as concerns grow, and will be of particular concern to parents who might have to feed their kids if schools close.
If you do decide to stockpile, it is best to buy pasta, rice and other long-life grains, as well as frozen vegetables and protein sources.