Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce today his “cautious” four-part plan to lift the coronavirus lockdown, which includes the reopening of schools on March 8.

Although the number of coronavirus cases has gone down sharply in the past few weeks, while the government vaccination drive is on top gear, there are still concerns for many parents about sending their children back to school next month.

We asked our readers their thoughts on school reopening next month, and whether they think it is too soon.

We received a lot of mixed responses, as many people stressed that teachers and staff should be vaccinated before the schools reopen, while others said a staggered return would be the best solution.

One mother said: “Yes and no, maybe. As a mum, it's only natural to worry, given the fact shielding has been extended until March 31. That itself says things shouldn't be opening too quickly.

“However, I am not a teacher for a reason, and I can't give my children what their teachers can, and I do believe they need to be back sooner rather than later.”

A few readers pointed out the importance of getting school staff vaccinated before they reopen.

“I feel we need to protect the teachers first. Let them get the vaccine and then send the children back.”

Another mum said: “Early years have remained open since January and they've had an increased number of cases mainly amongst staff. Therefore, I don't think morally all school children should be back until school staff have been vaccinated, followed by a phased return. I say this as someone who finds home schooling challenging and whose child is eager to get back.”

One respondent stressed that a staggered return should be implemented to avoid causing spread of virus.

“Yes [it is safe] but a staggered return, not all at once! Sending them all back at once is highly likely to push the number back up. Get the teachers vaccinated and send a few year groups back at a time.”

Another reader said the reason for failure of last lockdown was quick reopening of schools, and hence staff should be vaccinated before a slow-phased return.

She said: “Vaccinations don't stop you from getting it but they are hoping it will stop people from dying from it, which I think is massively important.

“Therefore I would rather all school staff had their vaccinations and then a slow phased return.

“It was all done far too quick last time, and look where we are now!”

Several others commented it is safe for their children to return to school, but we have to be careful.

One respondent said: “Yes [it is safe] but a phased return. Most children will be going back to parents in the age group who haven’t been vaccinated. So if they are not careful we will be back to square one again!”

Another mum said: “Mine’s in already. As he goes through lockdown and only one case in his class had to stay of 10 days. But I feel it is safe for him as they do everything they can to protect our kids in school.”

The location of the school should also be considered, said one respondent said.

She said: “My child already attends and I have no issues with him attending. I guess it depends on the school and number of cases. My child’s school is small and in a village. Maybe if it was a larger school I might have a different opinion. You can’t keep them off forever either.”

What is your opinion on schools reopening on March 8? Comment your reaction below.