Earlier today, Boris Johnson told MPs in the House of Commons that schools are set to reopen as part of a wider chain of lockdown lifting measures, providing certain conditions are met.

Schools are the first to reopen after lockdown on March 8, alongside the ability to meet one other person in an outdoor public space for socialising, not just exercise as is currently the rule.

The Advertiser has taken a look at what the new rules mean for you:

What’s the current situation?

At present, schools are closed except for the children of keyworkers and vulnerable children, while the rest of the cohort are being educated remotely. Nurseries remain open.

Universities are also teaching remotely, with the exception of courses that lead into becoming keyworkers, such as medicine.

What’s happening?

From March 8, schools will reopen for all year groups. This includes primary and secondary schools as well as colleges.

For older pupils, the government is recommending a series of additional steps to reopen places of education. Those in secondary schools, colleges and universities will be recommended to wear a mask while in classrooms, while pupils will be tested twice a week for Covid. This testing will occur at schools for now, and is intended to be carried out at home as plans progress.

SATs, A-levels and GCSEs remain cancelled, with estimated grades from teachers to be used instead.

What about clubs?

Breakfast clubs, societies and sporting events for children will also be allowed to continue from March 8, alongside schools.

Do I have to send my child back?

Current government guidance says that school attendance continues to be mandatory for school age children, but that there are some circumstances where this is not the case.

In particular, if attending school would put the pupil in breach of Public Health England guidance on Covid, or parliamentary legislation, then they do not need to attend school. In this instance, parents will not be penalised for failing to send their child to school.

What’s been said?

Boris Johnson told MPs: “All the evidence shows that classrooms are the best places for our young people to be and that’s why I’ve always said that schools would be the last to close and the first to reopen.

“And based on our assessment of the current data against the four tests, I can tell the House that two weeks from today, pupils and students in all schools and further education settings can safely return to face-to-face teaching, supported by twice weekly testing of secondary school and college pupils.

“Families and childcare bubbles will also be encouraged to get tested regularly. Breakfast and after-school clubs can also reopen and other children’s activities including sport can restart where necessary to help parents to work.”

The move was not well-received by teaching unions, who said the Prime Minister had “failed to learn the lesson of previous mistakes.”

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“Whilst cases of Covid infection are falling, along with hospitalisation rates, it remains the case, unfortunately, that cases are three times higher now than when schools re-opened last September. This fact, alone, should have induced caution rather than, in the words of Nadhim Zahawi an ‘ambitious’ school return which runs the risk of schools, once again, becoming, in the Prime Minister’s words on 4 January, ‘vector of transmission’ into the community. This risk is greatly elevated because of the new variants of Covid which are significantly more transmissive.

“A ‘big bang’ school reopening brings 10 million people back into crowded buildings with no social distancing and inadequate ventilation. The wearing of face masks by pupils and staff in in secondary school lessons is a welcome measure but it is not, on its own enough. The Government has had two months to put extra mitigations in place to stop the growth in infection in schools and colleges that was seen from September to December. Where are the ventilation units for classrooms? Where are the nightingale classrooms? Where is the PHE testing which school leaders could rely upon to give more accurate results? It is no good political parties talking about these safeguards when they know very well that they have not been put in place and will not be put in place by 8 March. Words are cheap. Actions are needed.”