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: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org and Mary-Louise.Clews@tes.com.
'Why all pupils wear face coverings in my primary school'
At the start of this term, measures were introduced at The Premier Academy, Milton Keynes that received widespread comment, mostly critical.
The school required all adults, anywhere on the school site, to wear face coverings.
Similarly, it was made clear that it was necessary for all children to wear face coverings on arrival and in communal areas. And face shields were to be worn at all times in the classroom.
Read more here.
The clocks go back – and we’re in the winter of Covid
Before the half-term holiday, you can get home from school in the light, writes secondary school teacher Yvonne Williams. Afterwards, you feel condemned to eternal gloom, as even the morning lightness contracts by December, says Williams, head of English and drama at a school in the South.
The extra hour we had in bed at the weekend is no consolation for the rapid descent of darkness at the end of the day, especially in this strangely surreal year, when the timetable operates more intensively than ever, according to Williams.
We all need light, she writes, not just at the end of the tunnel, but all the way along it. But where from?
Pushing ahead with exams is unrealistic and risks another fiasco, Northern leaders warn
The government is still planning for GCSE and A levels to go as ahead as normal next year – with a slight delay on exam dates
The Northern Powerhouse Partnership has urged the government to instead commit to continuous assessment as “a fairer alternative to the proposed examination plan”.
It has made this call after new figures showed around three quarters of the areas worst hit by Covid-19 in terms of pupils attendance at secondary school are in the North of England.
Teachers left cleaning classrooms as schools struggle to meet Covid guidelines
As half term arrives, a top union official has spoken to Tes about how achievable the government’s guidance given to schools on reopening during the Covid-19 pandemic has been in practice.
James Bowen, the director of the policy at the NAHT school leaders' union revealed that teachers and pupils are having to clean classrooms themselves because schools cannot afford to meet the cost of cleaning required in the Covid guidelines.
He warned that the expectation that classrooms were cleaned between lesson changeovers has left teachers and school staff with no option but to do it themselves.
And he warned that, even though in many cases school staff and pupils were doing the cleaning themselves, schools were still running up "huge" costs on cleaning materials that will not be reimbursed by the government.
Rising Covid absences prompts call for more DfE laptops
News that more than half of secondaries have pupils self-isolating because of potential Covid-19 contact has led to calls for the Department for Education to provide more laptops to schools
The Association of School and College Leaders' general secretary Geoff Barton said the new attendance figures showed the "grim picture of the increasingly challenging situation facing schools" with attendance falling and Covid infection rising.
He added: “In this turbulent context, it is crucial that schools are able to provide disadvantaged pupils with laptops so they can work from home if they have to self-isolate and do not have access to these devices.
"However, it is very clear that the government has completely underestimated the number of laptops that are needed.”
More than a half a million pupils off due to Covid-19
Today has brought more evidence of the growing disruption caused by Covid-19 in schools.
Data from the department shows that, on 22 October, more than a quarter of schools had one or more pupils self isolating after a coronavirus case in school was confirmed.
And it estimates that between 6 and 7 per cent of pupils in state-funded schools - more than half a million pupils - did not attend school for Covid-19 related reasons.
Johnson ‘Scrooge-like’ if he doesn’t act on holiday free school meals, say heads
Headteachers have said the prime minister will seem like Charles Dickens’ infamously stingy character Scrooge if he does not take action to provide poor families with free school meals over the Christmas holidays.
Schools have been making preparations to ensure pupils do not go hungry over the holiday, including a plan from Oasis Academies to recruit an army of volunteers to deliver meals to pupils’ homes on Christmas Day.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said Boris Johnson could be perceived as a “modern-day version of Scrooge” if he fails to take action, adding “this is modern Britain, not the Victorian era”.
Mr Johnson previously described an intervention from Labour MP Paula Sheriff over the language he used as “humbug”. Whether he will say “Bah, humbug” to this critique too remains to be seen.
Revealed: Which regions are seeing most teacher coronavirus cases?
Over a third of confirmed coronavirus cases among teachers were in one of England’s nine regions in one day, new data has revealed.
On 16 October, 710 teachers had a positive Covid-19 test across the North West - 35 per cent of confirmed cases among teachers in England that day.
Analysis from the North West Association of the Directors of Children's Services also shows that at the same time, over 40 per cent of schools in Bury, Knowsley, Liverpool and Manchester had confirmed cases of Covid-19, with some of these among teachers.
Despite the protests of teachers, heads, food campaigners and, increasingly, its own MPs, the government is refusing to bow to pressure to provide free school meals through the school holidays.
This is despite warnings that Covid-19 has made many children more vulnerable to food poverty.
Will the prime minister inevitably have to rethink its intransigence? Labour is pushing for another vote on the issue, and there are influential Conservatives, including House of Commons Education Committee chair Robert Halfon, who feel a rethink is needed.
You can catch up on all of yesterday's developments here.