MILLIONS of Brits have seen their Christmas plans ruined as London and swathes of the South East were plunged into Tier 4 lockdown.
Those living under the harsh new restrictions must stay at home under new laws - but schools will remain open.
⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updatesSchools will remain open in Tier 4 areas (stock)Credit: PA:Press Association
1) Will schools open in Tier 4?
According to Downing Street, schools and nurseries will remain open in Tier 4 - but will see a staggered return from the Christmas break.
The government said: “Schools and colleges will remain open during term time in tier 4 areas. The government will continue to prioritise the wellbeing and long-term futures of our young people.
"It remains very important for children and young people to attend, to support their wellbeing and education and help working parents and guardians.
“Senior clinicians still advise that school is the best place for children to be, and so they should continue to go to school during term time.”
During today’s coronavirus press briefing, Boris Johnson said travelling in Tier 4 areas for education would be permitted.
2) When do schools return after Christmas bank holiday?
The Independent reports that the staggered return will begin on January 4 with pupils in Year 11 and Year 13 who are preparing for GCSEs and A-Levels.
This will be followed by vulnerable children and children of critical workers.
Downing Street has pledged to roll out mass testing for hard-hit areas in London and the South East to help suppress the spread of the bug.
However in Scotland, pupils will not return to school on January 11 as planned.
Students will instead use online learning until at least January 18, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed.Boris Johnson has cancelled Christmas for millions of Brits
3) What coronavirus measures are in place in schools?
The guidance for schools to help stem transmission remains the same as before.
Measures already being used by schools include hand sanitiser stations, one-way systems and staggered break times.
Social distancing is also advised wherever possible for older students, with younger children encouraged to mix in small groups or “bubbles”
Pupils in England and Wales must also wear face masks in communal areas.
If a pupil tests positive, they must be sent home to self-isolate for ten days.
The school must then contact their local public health protection team - who will advise on other pupils or staff who should be sent home.
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