PM statement on coronavirus: 18 March 2020
Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a statement on coronavirus.
So we therefore need schools to make provision for the children of these key workers who would otherwise be forced to stay home. And they will also need to look after the most vulnerable children.
This will mean there will of course be are far fewer children in schools and that will help us to slow the spread of the disease. And these measures are crucial to make sure the critical parts of the economy keep functioning and public services keep functioning.
So we are simultaneously asking nurseries and private schools to do the same, and we are providing financial support where it is needed. We are making provisions to supply meals and vouchers for children eligible for free school meals. And where some schools are already doing this, I want to make it clear we will reimburse the cost. And of course this does mean that exams will not take place as planned in May and June. Though we will make sure that pupils get the qualifications they need and deserve for their academic career.
Now I know that these steps will not be easy for parents or teachers. And for many parents, this will be frustrating, and it will make it harder for them to go out to work.
And of course that is one of the reasons we haven’t wanted to go ahead and that’s why we are working now on further measures to ensure that we support not just businesses but also individuals and their families to keep our economy going as Rishi Sunak the Chancellor outlined yesterday.
I also need to remind parents that, as we have already advised, children should not be left with older grandparents, or older relatives, who may be particularly vulnerable or fall into some of the vulnerable groups and I know that will be difficult too. And I want to thank families for their sacrifice at this difficult time. I want to thank whole country for the efforts people are making to comply with these measures.
I particularly want to thank the teachers, head teachers and all the support staff who keep schools going who will make these exceptional arrangements work, for the benefit of us all.
By looking after the children of key workers they will be a critical part of our fightback against Coronavirus. As I have said, we will take the right steps at the right time, guided by the science.
We believe the steps we have already taken, together with those I am announcing today, are already slowing the spread of the disease.
But we will not hesitate to go further, and faster, in the days and weeks ahead.
And we will do whatever it takes to so that we beat it together.