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27 January 2021, 14:18 | Updated: 27 January 2021, 14:54
The Prime Minister has given an update on when the lockdown measures might begin to ease.
Boris Johnson has said schools won’t reopen until at least March 8 in an update to Parliament.
The Prime Minister made the statement while discussing the latest lockdown easing plans, confirming that schools will not be able to open after half term like first planned.
But Mr Johnson said that if the government succeeds in vaccinating the top four priority groups by mid-February, they will have developed immunity by March 8.
He told the Commons: "The first sign of normality beginning to return should be pupils going back to their classrooms. I know how parents and teachers need as much certainty as possible including two weeks' notice of the return of face-to-face teaching.
"So I must inform the House that for the reasons I have outlined it will not be possible to reopen schools immediately after the February half-term. But I know how frustrating that will be for pupils and teachers who want nothing more than to get back to the classroom.
"And for parents and for carers who spent so many months juggling their day jobs, not only with home schooling but meeting the myriad other demands of their children from breakfast until bedtime."
He added: "Schools closures have had a profound impact on learning which will take more than a year to catch-up, so we will work with teachers and parents to develop a long term plan to make up their learning over the course of this parliament."
Mr Johnson is set to publish a 'plan for taking the country out of lockdown' in the week commencing February 22 when we will know more about how the vaccines are working.
He said: "If we achieve our target of vaccinating everyone in the four most vulnerable groups with their first dose by February 15, and every passing day sees more progress towards that goal, then those groups (will) have developed immunity from the virus about three-weeks later, that is by March 8.
"We hope it will therefore be safe to begin the reopening of schools from Monday, March 8.
"With other economic and social restrictions being removed thereafter as and when the data permits... then or thereafter I should say.
"That plan will, of course, depend on the continued success of our vaccination programme, the capacity of the NHS, and on deaths falling at the pace we would expect as more people are inoculated."