Secondary schools in Preston and Lancashire will stay shut for the majority of pupils for an additional fortnight after the Christmas holidays.
The government has announced the staggered return to secondary schools planned for the week beginning Monday (4 January) has become more staggered.
Education secretary Gavin Williamson said exam-year pupils for secondary schools will return on Monday 11 January.
This is to give additional time for mass testing to be introduced and therefore all remaining secondary school pupils will return on the week beginning Monday 18 January.
The Education secretary said he expected online learning to take place for pupils remaining at home during the period of school closures.
Primary schools are mainly unaffected, with only areas with the highest coronavirus rates seeing a fortnight delay in returning to the classroom.
The government has not yet confirmed where these areas with delayed returns for primary school pupils will be.
Mr Williamson said the primary school delayed return was not applying to every tier-4 area.
Education secretary Gavin Williamson told MPs in the House of Commons: “This has always been an exercise in managing risks. We have been adamant that education of our children is our priority.
“We must always act swiftly when circumstances change. The evidence about the new Covid variant has required immediate adjustments for the new term.
“We continue to act to preserve lives and safeguard the NHS, and we continue to protect education by putting children first.
“Above all our response is proportionate to the risk at hand.”
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Mr Williamson said covid infections among children is triggered by the community rate.
He also said ‘the wider negative impact on children’s development by school closures is quite clear.’
He said the staggered return and fortnight’s delay for secondary schools and colleges will ‘break the chains of transmission’ and ‘keeping all children and education settings as safe as we can.’
All schools will continue to stay open for the teaching of children of key workers and children classed as vulnerable, they will receive face-to-face teaching regardless of the tier restrictions in that area.
Nurseries are understood be unaffected and can re-open or continue to stay open as planned.
Universities are being urged to reduce the number of students returning to campus teaching.
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