Government Confirms English Schools Could Reopen As Soon As June 1
Williamson confirmed: "We can now start the planning for a very limited return to school for some pupils as early as next month"
Williamson said that schools in England would reopen for certain students such as those in the early stages and late stages of both primary and secondary education.
Addressing the school students directly, he said: "At this time of year, GCSE and A-Level students would have been making final preparations for their exams while other students would have been enjoying their summer term.
"If you're one of them, as I've said before, I can only say how sorry I am that this has all happened to you this year.
"The sacrifices that you have had to make through no choice of your own.
"But the impact that this coronavirus has had on your life has made things so incredibly tough for all of you."
He added: "We are planning to get some secondary school children back, in years 10 and 12 on a limited basis for some face to face time with teachers.
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"The first years of school are pivotal for younger children
"It is vital we do all we can to help them succeed and help them do well.
"It's also important for vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
"The longer schools are closed the more children will miss out. Teachers know this. They know there are children out there that school is the safest place they can be.
"The poorest children, the most disadvantaged who do not have the support at home who will fall furthest behind.
"We are asking some children to come back from the 1st June and asking schools to adopt strict measures.
"Including reducing class sizes and being rigorous about hygiene.
"Track and trace methods will be used to prevent the virus from spreading. This will create an inherently safer system."
As for the teachers who will return to work - possibly putting themselves into the firing line in the process - Williamson thanked them for what they've done since the lockdown closed their places of work, adding: "You have simply been outstanding and we are so grateful for what you have done."
This announcement only applies to schools in England, as schools in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland all have to opportunity to make their own decisions on whether or not to reopen their education systems.
Featured Image Credit: PA