PM Boris Johnson says "we don't think schools should be closing" during the coronavirus outbreak, which has already killed eight people in the UK.
But, some schools have shut their doors over fears that students and staff may have been infected with Covid-19 after going on their half-term holidays.
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Will UK schools close due to coronavirus?
When COBRA meets today, one of the measures on the table is to close schools as part of so-called social distancing plans.
The emergency meeting will discuss the UK's response to the Covid-19 outbreak – which has already infected hundreds of people.
The next phase of the government's plan to tackle the killer bug is to go into the 'delay phase', which includes encouraging more home working, and initiating school closures.
But, Boris Johnson has recently said that the government wanted to avoid locking down classrooms.
He told a press conference: “We don’t think schools should be closing in principle.
"If possible they should stay open but school authorities should follow the advice of Public Health England."
Have schools already closed?
A number of schools have had periods of closure due to the coronavirus, with others advising their students to self isolate if they become ill.
To stop the virus spreading, some have shut their doors for up to two weeks, to allow deep cleaning.
This also gives health officials time to track down others who have been in contact with infected people.
Many schools have temporarily closed – and have since reopened.
- Willow Bank Infant School in Woodley, Berkshire – after a teacher tested positive for coronavirus.
- Aldryngton Primary School – which closed for deep cleaning after a case.
- Lutton St Nicholas Primary School in Lincolnshire – opened again on Thursday, February 27.
- Gedney Church End Primary School, Spalding, Lincs – reopened on Friday, February 28.
- St Christopher's C of E High School in Accrington, Lancs – also reopened following advice from health officials.
- Trinity Catholic College in Middlesbrough – reopened on March 3.
- Cransley School in Northwich, Cheshire – closed for a week from February 24.
- The Brine Leas Academy sixth form in Cheshire – sixth form was closed due to staff shortages
- William Martin Junior and Infant School in Harlow, Essex – closed on Wednesday, February 26, for one day, now open again.
- Tudor Grange Academy Kingshurst, Birmingham – reopened March 2.
- The ContinU Plus Academy in Kidderminster, Worcs – closed on Wednesday, February 26, for one day, has since opened again.
- Lime Academy Watergall in Bretton, Peterborough – closed on Wednesday, February 26, opening again on March 2.
- Shepeau Stow Primary School, in Spalding, Lincs – reopened following a deep clean after a virus scare.
- St Peter's Church of England Middle School, Old Windsor – reopened Friday, February 28.
- Archbishop Temple School, Preston, Lancs – reopened March 2.
- Burford School, Oxfordshire – reopened March 2.
- Burbage Primary School, in Buxton – reopened February 28.
Why have some schools closed in the U?
The main reason that schools have cited for closing their doors has been to prevent the spread and keep staff and pupils safe.
On March 4, 2020, Willow Bank Infant School in Woodley, Berkshire, said that one of its staff had tested positive for the virus.
The school then tweeted that it would close for a deep clean.
Aldryngton Primary School also closed for a deep clean but pupils were advised it was just a precuationary measure..
Two schools closed following staff members who had recently returned from Italy, where the virus is spreading rapidly.
The ContinU Plus Academy in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, closed when a staff member was in "close contact" with a family member who was self-isolating after being in northern Italy.
William Martin Church of England Junior, Infant and Nursery School in Harlow, Essex, shut its doors for the same reason.
Another top independent school Cransley School in Northwich, Cheshire, closed after a number of students and staff who went on a ski trip to northern Italy over half-term began to show flu-like symptoms.
Dulwich Prep School in South London also took the decision to close due to sick pupils.
What has the government said about school closures?
Official government guidance states that if a pupil or member of staff is confirmed as having coronavirus, anyone who has been "in close face-to-face or touching contact" should self-isolate for 14 days.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the "goal was to keep schools open".
He told MPs: "If anyone has been in contact with a suspected case in a childcare or an educational setting, no special measures are required while test results are awaited.
"There is no need to close the school or send other students or staff home."
Boris Johnson has set up a "war room" to tackle coronavirus, admitting the current crisis could last several months.
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