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Great Britain hoping to reopen schools in March

Great Britain hoping to reopen schools in March
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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday said that the coronavirus pandemic would not allow English schools to open in February but that the government is hopeful for a possible March reopening.

Johnson said that any decision on reopening would be made with at least two weeks’ notice. The prime minister said school reopenings would occur before the lifting of any other lockdown measures, calling it “the first sign of normality,” according to the BBC.

The prime minister told the House of Commons there is currently insufficient data to make a decision on ending the lockdown more broadly. In late February, he said, the government will have enough information on the coronavirus vaccine’s effect on transmission to plan a “gradual and phased” reopening.

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Johnson’s announcement will leave parents to home-school their children for another five weeks.

“We hope it will therefore be safe to begin the reopening of schools from Monday the 8th of March, with other economic and social restrictions being removed [then or] thereafter, as and when the data permits,” Johnson told Parliament, according to Reuters.

The U.K. this week hit 100,000 deaths from the virus, the smallest country to do so thus far. The British response to the pandemic, in particular, has been complicated by the emergence of a more infectious strain of the virus that has swept across the nation.

While delaying lockdown measures in the early days of the pandemic, the U.K. ended up imposing what was then one of the strictest shutdowns of any western nation.

Johnson, who was himself hospitalized with the virus, announced a second four-week lockdown last fall.