Schools reopening after coronavirus

The government have put in place strict social distancing, including the closure of schools for everyone except vulnerable children and the children of critical workers, to slow the spread of the virus so the NHS would not be overwhelmed, and lives could be saved.  Due to the hard work and sacrifice of the British people, and despite a tragic loss of life, the UK slowed the spread of coronavirus.  Our health system was not overwhelmed – with spare beds, ventilators, and hospital capacity at all times.
It is now right that we set out a roadmap for recovery which is focused not just saving lives, but also livelihoods.  However, it is absolutely vital that as we do so, we avoid the risk of a second peak that overwhelms the NHS and importantly does not waste the huge sacrifices the British people have made in lockdown to get the virus under control.
As the government begins to slowly and cautiously lift some of the restrictions, it hopes to be able to return some pupils to school.  This will not happen any earlier than 1st June, and only then if the five key tests set by government justify the changes at the time.  
Initially, it is expected that children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 will return to school, in smaller class sizes.  The ambition is for all primary school children to return to school before the summer, if feasible.  For older pupils, the government hopes to get Year 10 and 12 pupils who have key exams next year some face-to-face contact with their teachers, to supplement their remote education.  It is unlikely that other secondary pupils will return to school before the summer.
As you will be aware, I sit as a Member of the Science and Technology Committee to which you refer and having witnessed the Chief Scientific Advisor to the Department of Education’s appearance, I am pleased that he has now written to the Committee to issue a clarification in which he states that he doesn’t wish his position to be misrepresented and that he has full confidence in the plans to reopen educational institutions.  A copy of this letter can be viewed at the following link - click here.
I would stress again that all these measures are conditional on the rate of transmission of the virus coming down, and the scientific advice saying it is safe to do so.