Boris Johnson hailed a ‘big and emotional’ moment today after millions of pupils returned to classrooms after two months of home-learning

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Boris Johnson hailed a ‘big and emotional’ moment today after millions of pupils returned to classrooms after two months of home-learning.

At a press conference to mark the first phase of his ‘one way’ lockdown easing, the PM welcomed the full reopening of schools in England saying fixing the damage to children’s prospects was the ‘biggest challenge’ the country faces.

But he warned that it is ‘inevitable’ that infections will rise with young people and parents coming into closer contact, and dismissed Tory pressure to speed up the easing of restrictions.  

Playing down the latest falls in deaths and cases, Mr Johnson told the No10 briefing: ‘Of course, there will be a risk of increased transmission, that’s inevitable if you open up schools for millions of kids across the country.

That is going to happen.

‘But we think that we can do it now in the way that we are because we have the proportion of the population vaccinated that I described, the groups one to four, having had the immunity bedded in after least three weeks.

‘As I said earlier on, we will continue to be driven by data and not dates as we approach the next steps – April 12, May 17, June 21, we will continue to assess where we have got to.

‘The data on the vaccinations and the impact that they are having is very encouraging, but we have to remain very, very cautious.’ 

Many secondary schools have implemented a phased return as students from different year groups begin Covid testing as well as following a number of other conditions brought in to allow their safe return. 

Teachers have described their ‘immense relief tied to a little apprehension’ at students head back – amid chaos over non-compulsory testing schemes and fears over lax mask wearing. 

Among the most immediate concerns for secondary schools will be testing every pupil twice in the first two weeks of term, before encouraging a shift to testing themselves at home.

Meanwhile, students who appear positive for coronavirus in rapid home tests will receive a subsequent test that could allow them to return to class, No 10 has confirmed this afternoon after a minister sparked confusion. 

The clarification came after children’s minister Vicky Ford suggested there would be no PCR tests at all.

The first three tests for secondary and college students will take place under supervision at their places of education, before being taken twice weekly at home. 

All secondary pupils are to be regularly tested – which involves swabbing the nose and throat – to try to avoid schools becoming ‘vectors of transmission’.

But problems with getting consent may threaten the plans. 

One head teacher in Halifax has said only a quarter of parents had agreed for their children to be tested, while in Tower Hamlets, east London, a school has reported that the ‘vast majority’ have opted out. 

And mask critics, including parents and MPs, say the rules will impact students’ learning.

Ministers have vowed to revisit the face covering policy at the end of this month. 

Pupils and teachers across the country begin testing as they return under the easing of lockdown restrictions. Pictured: Erin Horn looking in a mirror while taking a Lateral Flow Test as children arrive at Outwood Academy in Doncaster in Yorkshire

Pupils and teachers across the country begin testing as they return under the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Pictured: Erin Horn looking in a mirror while taking a Lateral Flow Test as children arrive at Outwood Academy in Doncaster in Yorkshire

Pictured: Pupils at Nottingham High School take Covid-19 lateral flow tests as they return back after the Covid-19 Lockdown

Pictured: Pupils at Nottingham High School take Covid-19 lateral flow tests as they return back after the Covid-19 Lockdown

Boris Johnson tonight welcomed the full reopening of schools in England saying fixing the damage to children's prospects was the 'biggest challenge' the country faces

Boris Johnson tonight welcomed the full reopening of schools in England saying fixing the damage to children’s prospects was the ‘biggest challenge’ the country faces

Lateral Flow Tests are processed as children arrive at Outwood Academy in Woodlands, Doncaster, in Yorkshire

Lateral Flow Tests are processed as children arrive at Outwood Academy in Woodlands, Doncaster, in Yorkshire

Testing: Pupils from Chertsey High School take lateral flow tests for Covid-19 ahead of their full return to school this morning

Testing: Pupils from Chertsey High School take lateral flow tests for học tiếng anh lớp 3 Covid-19 ahead of their full return to school this morning

Some teaching unions have compared school testing sites to 'field hospitals'. Pictured: Nottingham High School testing room

Some teaching unions have compared school testing sites to ‘field hospitals’.

Pictured: Nottingham High School testing room

Most of Britain's primary schools will reopen this morning - despite major pushback from teaching unions who call for a more staggered approach. Pictured:  Student Leah Anderson takes a lateral flow test at Outwood Academy Adwick in Doncaster

Most of Britain’s primary schools will reopen this morning – despite major pushback from teaching unions who call for a more staggered approach.

Pictured:  Student Leah Anderson takes a lateral flow test at Outwood Academy Adwick in Doncaster

In England, non-essential shops are set to open from April 12, and pubs and restaurants will be able to serve outside from the same date – but the restrictions will not be lifted in full until June 21.

But former chief whip Mark Harper, head of the lockdown-sceptic Covid Recovery Group, has warned that by the end of April it will look ‘odd’ that England still has tough curbs if fatalities and cases continue to tumble.   

Dr Jenny Harries, England’s deputy chief medical officer, học tiếng anh lớp 2 admitted at the No10 briefing that it will ‘take time’ for families to get used to testing children for coronavirus before going to school.

She said: ‘Children should always be allowed to come into school and it is their right to have an education and it is important for their long-term health and actually their future families’ health.

‘I do recognise that for many parents it is quite an unusual ask – before children go off to school to do a swab and a test.

It will take time, I think, for families to get used to that.’

She said that one of the reasons why testing has been introduced in a phased way is so that children have three tests in school first in a ‘supervised way with support’ so they know what to expect.

Dr Harries said children would never be forced to have a test but that parents should ask if they are concerned about it.

Earlier, Professor Calum Semple, an expert in child health and outbreak medicine at Liverpool University, warned schools reopening and social contacts increasing meant it was ‘inevitable that we will see a rise in cases’ but added that people shouldn’t panic.

The return to classrooms has come as a major relief for British pupils and their families who have been forced to endure home-learning since December due to Covid lockdown rules.

Parents across the country have expressed their delight as their children have been reunited with friends and teachers. 

Their return forms part of the Prime Minister’s ultra-cautious ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown unveiled last month, which put schools front and centre.

Teenagers have been self-administering Covid-19 tests as they return to school for the first time this year.

Year 11 students at Archway School in Stroud, Gloucestershire, had to take a rapid lateral flow test, hoc tieng anh giao tiep o dau which provides a result in half an hour, before being able to start lessons.

Staff had staggered pupils’ return, with tutor groups of 30 students arriving at 30-minute intervals in order to take the test.  

The students queued to enter the sports centre before going inside to administer the test in one of six booths.

While school science technicians process the results, the students have to sit and wait in the sports hall until they get the all-clear to join their tutor group in lessons.

Students and staff will wear masks in classrooms and, to help reduce social contact around the school, there are year group ‘bubbles’, lessons have been extended, and breaks and lunchtimes have been staggered.

Only Years 11, 12 and 13 returned for face-to-face teaching on Monday.

Years 7 and 10 will go back on Tuesday and Years 8 and 9 on Wednesday.

and until then hoc tieng anh online learning will continue from home. All students will be in school from Thursday. 

Staff deliver swab solutions from school pupils lateral flow test swabs at Archway School in Stroud in Gloucestershire

Staff deliver swab solutions from school pupils lateral flow test swabs at Archway School in Stroud in Gloucestershire

Year 11 pupil Harry Archer, 15, is instructed while conducting a nose swab during his test at Archway School sports hall

Year 11 pupil Harry Archer, 15, is instructed while conducting a nose swab during his test at Archway School sports hall

Year 11 pupil Ozzy Deane, 15, conducts a mouth swab during his lateral flow test as he arrives at school sports hall in Stroud

Year 11 pupil Ozzy Deane, 15, conducts a mouth swab during his lateral flow test as he arrives at school sports hall in Stroud

Science Technician Annie Faulkner-Wicks prepares a school pupil's lateral flow test swab solution at Archway School

Science Technician Annie Faulkner-Wicks prepares a school pupil’s lateral flow test swab solution at Archway School

Pictured: Year 11 pupil Ozzy Deane, 15, shows his registration card after conducting a lateral flow test in Gloucestershire

Pictured: Year 11 pupil Ozzy Deane, 15, shows his registration card after conducting a lateral flow test in Gloucestershire

Headteacher Kieron Smith said: ‘It’s been wonderful seeing the faces of the students – well, what I can see of the faces of the students – this morning.

‘I can tell that they’re just as pleased as us to be back in school because we have Year 11s in this morning and of course for them it’s a very important year.

‘We’ve had measures in place since September with the one-way system and the wearing of masks in corridors and communal areas, but we upped that to wearing masks within lessons, and the same goes for staff as well.

‘Obviously with the testing regime as well, as students will be testing themselves at home in two weeks.

‘For the next two weeks they will be tested three times to make sure they’re clear and everyone’s feeling happy about being in school.