England to follow Wales with secondary school return delay
England is expected to follow Wales will an extra week delay before returning to classroom teaching under plans agreed by UK Government ministers yesterday.
The Welsh Local Government Association confirmed earlier in December that schools would provide face-to-face learning for the majority of their pupils by 11 January.
England is now expected to follow suit with secondaries open only to vulnerable students or children of key workers, giving schools more room to set up mass testing, according to Tes.
In Wales, a full return to the classroom is expected by 18 January at the latest.
In England, All secondary students would be due back in schools for lessons from the week of 18 January, and primary schools would open from 4 January as normal.
According to Tes, the plan in England has yet to have final Downing Street approval but may be unveiled tomorrow.
It comes as Covid-19 has surged to an “unprecedented” infection level in England, according to Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, said.
NHS England said the number of people being treated for the virus in hospital is now 20,426, which is higher than the previous peak of about 19,000 in April.
Meanwhile, the seven-day case rate in Wales has declined slightly. A further 33 people have died of coronavirus and 2,510 new cases of the virus have been confirmed in the latest update from Public Health Wales.
Swansea Bay health board area recorded the highest number of new covid-related deaths with 11.
Cwm Taf Morgannwg health board reported six deaths since yesterday and there were five in Hywel Dda and four in Aneurin Bevan.
Betsi Cadwaladr and the Cardiff and Vale health board areas reported three and Powys reported one.
The highest number of new cases in Wales were in Cardiff, where 330 people tested positive for the virus since yesterday. Rhondda Cynon Taf reported 279 cases yesterday and Bridgend 238.
The weekly case rates have dropped in both Merthyr Tydfil and Bridgend, the worst hit areas in the country.
The infection rate in Bridgend has declined from 1,021.4 per 100,000 people to 949.3, while the rate in Merthyr is down from 1,022.8 to 895.1.
Bridgend has the highest proportion of positive tests for the virus over the week at 30.4% per 100,000 tests.