Many thousands of primary school children will not be in class today as part of the Government fight against a virulent new Covid strain.
Hundreds of primary schools in London, the South East and the East will be closed apart from to children of key workers.
Meanwhile, headteachers and local councils elsewhere in the country appear to have defied Boris Johnson’s call for children to return to class, with many deciding to stay shut.
Council leaders elsewhere in England have written to the Government asking to be allowed to switch to remote learning.
Secondary schools, meanwhile, are shut nationwide until January 18 for most students as preparations for mass testing of pupils are put in place.
Primary schools in all of London’s 32 boroughs will remain closed.
Primary schools in Brentwood, Epping Forest, Castle Point, Basildon, Rochford, Harlow, Chelmsford, Braintree, Maldon, Southend on Sea and Thurrock were asked to stay closed by the Government.
But Essex County Council has said that primary schools in Colchester, Tendring and Uttlesford – the only districts in Essex where schools were due to reopen – have been advised to move to remote learning.
Primary schools in Dartford, Gravesham, Sevenoaks, Medway, Ashford, Maidstone, Tonbridge and Malling, Tunbridge Wells and Swale have been asked to stay closed by the Government.
Meanwhile, pupils in Thanet, Canterbury, Dover and Folkestone and Hythe are expected to return on Monday.
On Sunday, leader of Kent County Council Roger Gough urged Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to keep all primary schools in the county closed.
Primary school-age children in Hastings and Rother will not return to classrooms from Monday, as these two areas were affected by the Government’s contingency framework.
But Brighton and Hove City Council has advised primary schools in the Tier 4 area not to return in person, except for vulnerable children and those of key workers, until January 18.
The opening of primary schools has been delayed in Milton Keynes.
Primary schools in Watford, Broxbourne, Hertsmere and Three Rivers were among those told to stay closed by the Government.