Welcome to the Tes coronavirus liveblog. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is causing uncertainties for everyone.
Schools are facing unprecedented disruption, with classrooms currently closed to all but the children of key workers and vulnerable pupils.
Here, we aim to help teachers in the UK and in international schools by gathering together all the relevant stories in one place and keeping you updated with the latest news and announcements as and when they happen.
And, as ever, we also want to hear from you. What is different in your school, in your working life, because of the virus? If you have stories you want to share or information you think should be circulated, then contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com and Mary-Louise.Clews@tes.com.
A third of primary school pupils were off at start of new term
The figures from the Department for Education also show how attendance was affected by the arguably even more chaotic start to the new term this year.
Data shows attendance in primary schools which were open was 65 per cent on 4 January. This figure is skewed by schools in areas hardest hit by Covid, where the government’s contingency framework was in force.
Schools in these areas, which were only open to vulnerable children and those of critical workers, saw attendance of just 6 per cent last Monday.
But in primary schools outside of these areas, attendance also dropped sharply compared with previous national figures.
New figures show attendance plummeted as Covid crisis in schools worsened
Data has been published today shedding new light on the chaotic end to term faced by schools last month.
The latest official data shows how attendance dropped in areas of London and the South East of England in the week that the Department for Education issued legal threats to force schools to stay open.
Councils in London had asked the government to allow schools to move lessons online as the new variant of the coronavirus spread.
An (Ofsted) inspector doesn't want to call
Ofsted’s plans to go into schools to inspect them during the height of the pandemic have attracted a significant new body of criticism – from the inspectors themselves.
Inspectors who are members of the FDA union have voted "overwhelmingly" to call on chief inspector Amanda Spielman to suspend on-site visits during the current Covid-19 lockdown.
They have raised serious concerns about the risks posed to both pupils and staff of having Ofsted visit schools during the current public health crisis.
Food parcels row shows teachers left ‘picking up the pieces’
Union leaders have said a row over free school meal provision shows how schools are being left to “pick up the pieces” for vulnerable families during the pandemic.
After a mother’s post of her inadequate food parcel went viral on social media, Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "Schools have been left having to piece together provision by arranging for food parcels and local vouchers."
And Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU teachers’ union, said schools were being left to “pick up the slack” when it came to supporting hungry families.
Read the full story here.
DfE aims to help schools 'improve' distance learning
Parents have already been told that they can report their schools to Ofsted if they are unhappy with their children's remote learning during the national lockdown.
Now the government is planning to set out a new framework to help schools and colleges identify "areas for improvement" in their distance teaching.
The frameworks will be voluntary and "should be adapted by schools and colleges to fit their individual context", the Department for Education said.
Read the full story here.
‘Can’t be right that’ that supply teachers aren’t being paid
Unions have today written a joint letter calling for financial help for thousands of supply teachers who suddenly lost their income last week when schools closed.
Unions including the NASUWT, NEU and Unison say the government must ensure supply teachers who were on live assignments continue to be paid by schools in lockdown, and they are calling for a review of added costs to the furlough scheme which are possibly preventing agencies from furloughing workers.
Read the story here
Still no decision on teachers' priority access to vaccine
Will teachers get priority access to vaccines? Teaching unions are of course adamant that their members need the jab as soon as possible.
But the minister responsible for Covid vaccine deployment didn't give much away in yesterday's parliamentary debate on the issue.
Nadhim Zahawi simply said the government was "following the science" - adding that teachers and school staff were at no greater risk of mortality from coronavirus than others.
This was after he raised hopes earlier that day by suggesting that teachers would be prioritised in the next vaccine phase.
When will a decision be made? With pupil attendance much higher in this lockdown than the last, pressure on the government to protect those school staff working on site as much as possible is only going to increase.
You can catch up on yesterday's schools related coronavirus news here.