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English primary schools to partially reopen from Jun 1: PM Johnson

English primary schools to partially reopen from Jun 1: PM Johnson

A teacher cleans her classroom as measures are taken to prevent the transmission of coronavirus before the reopening of a primary school in Poynton near Manchester, England. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

LONDON: Primary schools in England are to reopen to some pupils from Jun 1, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Sunday (May 24).

Only reception pupils aged 4-5 in the first year of school, those aged 5-6 in year one, and those aged 10-11 in their final primary year will return initially, he told a news conference.

Secondary school pupils will come back later, with "some contact" between teachers and older children preparing for exams from Jun 15, he added.

READ: UK PM Johnson vows 'world-beating' track and trace COVID system by Jun 1

Reopening schools has been controversial, with Britain having the highest coronavirus death rate in Europe and the second-highest in Europe.

According to the latest government figures, nearly 37,000 people have died after testing positive. Broader statistics including suspected cases puts the figure at over 41,000.

Teaching unions last week urged the government to reconsider plans to reopen, as it gradually eases lockdown restrictions, given lingering concerns over health and safety.

Several local authorities across England have already ruled out a return on Jun 1, and schools remain shut in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, where education is a devolved matter.

Schools will return part-time in Scotland from Aug 11 while Wales has not set a date for a return.

In Northern Ireland, pupils will only come back from September.

On Friday, the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies said: "Evidence remains inconclusive on both the susceptibility and infectivity of children."

But it added: "The balance of evidence suggests that both may be lower than in adults".

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Source: AFP/de

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