Welcome to the Tes coronavirus liveblog. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is causing uncertainties for everyone.
Schools are facing unprecedented disruption with efforts to keep open and 'Covid-secure' and many teachers facing working with "bubbles" of pupils or delivering remote lessons.
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.
NEU wants secondary schools in high risk areas to be moved onto rotas
Teaching union leaders have called on Gavin Willamson to consider introducing rotas for secondary schools and colleges in high risk areas to attempt to curb an "alarming" rise in Covid cases.
Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, joint general secretaries of the National Education Union, have written to the education secretary over concerns that the infection rate in secondary schools is now "17 times higher than it was on September 1".
They warn that if this trend continues and nothing is done to stop it the "education system will be plunged into disarray".
Whatever the COVID situation - these five Cs can help you through
These are tough time for school leaders - but there are ways to help streamline your thinking and ensure you're doing the best you can for your staff, pupils and parents.
Sarah Ford, the elementary principal at Danube International School, Vienna, says that for her it all comes down to five key Cs that guide her thinking.
Read her tips here.
'Anarchic' approach to checking schools' Covid measures
An expert from the Independent Sage group has warned "nobody" is monitoring the steps schools are taking to control spread of the virus in classrooms.
Dr Terry Wrigley, from Manchester Metropolitan University, said at a briefing today: "Schools are being distanced from the public health authorities locally."
He added: "I don't know where Ofsted is these days, the local authorities are not empowered to monitor, and so it's laissez faire; it's quite anarchic."
And asked what threshold exists for schools closing, Dr Wrigley said: "It's very clear there isn't a standard policy; the situation is totally erratic."
Read the full story here.
Scientists say a circuit breaker could save lives as new figures show increase in Covid cases in primary school
The Independent Sage group held a briefing today with a focus on schools.
They highlighted that there has been a "sharp increase" in the number of cases of Covid-19 among primary school pupils but cases have dropped among secondary school students.
Christina Pagel, professor of operational research at UCL also told the briefing that there was a potential for outbreaks in schools to be going unnoticed because of asymptomatic transmission.
And she told the briefing that a circuit breaker lockdown held now could save lives in December.
We’re all weary from weariness…but is there hope?
You may just have arrived at a half-term holiday at the end of weeks like no other weeks, the like of which nothing prepared you for, writes Geoff Barton.
The staff in our schools – teachers, leaders and all other staff – are weary from weariness, and battered by the pervasive collective anxiety of a fractious nation.
But, in among all of this, there is a welcome half-term glimmer of optimism...
Heads 'fuming' over school meals letter
Headteachers are 'fuming' and 'incredibly angry' after the DfE sent them a letter reminding them of its expectation that they provide nutritous hot meals to pupils just two days after the government voted against providing meals to disadvantaged children over half term.
The letter was sent as a growing number of councils and independent shops and cafes have pledged to provide meals during next week's break.
Read the full story here.
Twice the number of TAs now standing in for teachers
Teaching assistants are being put under 'added stress' as more are being asked to stand in for absent teachers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Figures from public service union Unison reveal more than twice the proportion of teaching assistants are standing in for teachers and covering lessons than two years ago.
A Unison survey last month found that 25 per cent had been asked to lead classes and 27 per cent said they had been asked to provide cover supervision.
Read our story here.
More generous GCSE grades needed in 2021
Senior exam sector sources have said GCSE and A level grading in 2021 will need to be even more generous than teacher-assessed results in 2020 so that pupils are not unfairly penalised.
Those involved in discussions over what will happen to exams in 2020 say a range of variables need to be considered to help the cohort, including more “optionality” in exams or greater flexibility over entry requirements from universities and sixth form colleges.
“Holistically more generous grading has got to be in the mix,” one senior exams sector source told Tes. “Because if you look at 2020, those students had an advantage [in grades] in the end.
“And then you go into 2021 and those kids will have lost out on months of education. They are definitely at a disadvantage relative to 2020 and we need to answer that question.
School reopenings drive 'large' increase in R number
Yesterday it was reported that schools may have a limited role in spreading coronavirus, according to evidence from studies conducted in Europe.
But new research published in the Lancet indicates that the reopening of schools was actually associated with a "large" increase in the R number.
The study, which looked at the spread of the virus in 131 countries, found that combining measures such as a public events ban, school closures and stay-at-home requirements was more effective in reducing coronavirus transmission than individual interventions.
Read the full story here
No end to disruption
As teachers head into a more-than-ever well-earned half term break, the only thing that they can be sure of right now is that government - in Westminster at least - is determined to keep schools open.
As teachers in Wales and Northern Ireland cope with all or part school closures as part of measures to combat rising cases of Coronavirus, teachers in Scotland and England will be working out how to keep schools open as we head into the winter term.
They may have taken comfort from a new international study published yesterday that appeared to show the reopening of schools in September had a 'limited role' in spreading Covid. However, a new study published late last night in the Lancet suggested open schools had a 'large' impact on pushing up the 'R' factor (see more below).
To catch-up with yesterday's developments click here.