Unions demand four-week school shutdown but Boris Johnson to keep classes OPEN during national lockdown

TEACHING unions have demanded a four-week school shutdown, but Boris Johnson is set to keep classes open during a second national lockdown.

The National Education Union (NEU) urged the PM to include schools and colleges in England's new month-long shutdown, which is due to be announced at a 6.30pm press conference in Downing Street.

Mr Johnson is expected to announce a package of strict restrictions which will last until December 2.

The measures, due to come into force on Thursday, will mean all pubs and restaurants will close in a huge U-turn – four months after the first UK-wide shutdown.

Demanding classrooms are closed, NEU Joint General Secretary Kevin Courtney insisted ONS data showed schools "are an engine for virus transmission".

Mr Courtney said: "It would be self-defeating for the Government to impose a national lockdown, whilst ignoring the role of schools as a major contributor to the spread of the virus. 


"The Government should include all schools in proposals for an immediate national lockdown."

The NEU insisted schools should remain open only to children of key workers and vulnerable children.

Under the imminent new lockdown, non essential retail will close, though supermarkets will not have to seal off non-essential goods as was seen in Wales during their short-term lockdown.

Working from home will also be encouraged.

Outbound international travel will be banned except for work purposes and travel within the UK will be discouraged, except for work.

But, unlike the first lockdown, schools and universities will remain open.

It comes as Britain today passed one million Covid cases after 21,915 more people positive for the bug.

Another 326 deaths have been recorded, meaning 46,555 have now died of coronavirus in the UK.

The Government has vowed to keep schools open and schools are a current exemption on the three-tiered local lockdown system that regions in England have been under.

The PM said that kids' "life chances" were under threat if they spent more time out of class.

In regions under tier three lockdown measures, schools have remained open while hospitality venues have been forced to close.

Closing schools has been seen by some officials as a mistake and it would be an absolute last resort for ministers to do it again.

Mr Johnson has insisted that schools and colleges should only ever be shut again as a "very, very last resort", even if the country goes into full or circuit breaker lockdown.

The decision to impose tougher restrictions comes as experts warned the Prime Minister that enforcing full restrictions from next week will be the only way to rescue the festive period.

The virus is thought to be spreading faster than the initial "worst-case scenario" predicted.

Grim models shown to the PM forecast 4,000 daily deaths before the end of the year if more severe restrictions aren't brought in, the BBC reports.

The clampdown is an attempt to curb the grim figure that 85,000 people could die from a second wave of Covid-19, a paper from the Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies warned.

The UK hit the grim milestone of one million coronavirus cases throughout the pandemic after 21,915 more positive test results were confirmed today.

Another 326 deaths have been recorded, meaning 46,555 have now died from the bug in Britain.

Northern Ireland has been under a four-week lockdown since October 17 and schools will be shut for two weeks.

It's unclear how Scottish schools will be affected as a new five tier system comes into force from November 2.

Wales has been under a "fire-breaker" lockdown since October 23, with primary schools and special educational needs schools reopening next week.

Secondary schools in Wales will remain shut for all but those in years seven and eight.

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