Welcome to the Tes coronavirus liveblog. The outbreak of Covid-19 is an uncertain time for everyone, but schools and teachers are facing unprecedented disruption with schools now closed and exams cancelled.
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?
Free laptops for 'disadvantaged' pupils
Disadvantaged children "in the most vital stages of their education" will be given free laptops and tablets in a bid to make remote learning easier during the coronavirus lockdown, the government has announced.
Devices will be ordered for disadvantaged children in Year 10; those who receive support from a social worker; and care leavers.
The Department for Education (DfE) was unable to reveal last night how much it intends to invest in the scheme - but said it would be in the millions -
It was also unable to confirm how many children it hopes to support, or how it is defining "disadvantaged" pupils, but said further details would be released in the coming days.
Education secretary backs 'remarkable' national online academy
An "online classroom" providing a "comprehensive" virtual curriculum for schools to use during the coronavirus crisis, is being backed by education secretary Gavin Williamson, who described the initiative as "remarkable".
Oak National Academy, which has the backing of nine multi-academy trusts (MATs), will provide a "sequenced" plan of hour-long lessons and curricular resources, including videos, worksheets and quizzes, compiled by 40 teachers from some of the country’s "top-performing" schools.
It will open its virtual doors on Monday. Full story here.
Listen: The Tes news team weekly podcast covers how covid-19 has impacted teachers and schools as week four of closures draws to a close
The news team discusses the key news of the week, from the debate over whether- and how - schools should reopen, to the decision by Ofqual to reverse its decision to award Year 10 GCSE grades.
Tune in here.
Thousands sign petition opposing schools reopening
Over 80,000 have signed a petition launched by the NEU on Tuesday, arguing that no schools should reopen "before it is safe to do so".
Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU, said: "I am pleased that so many have supported it and the number continues to grow.
"As yet there is no clarity as to how social distancing would or even could be implemented in schools, particularly for younger age groups.
"Even though the majority of children are considered low risk, their teachers and families are not.
"The fear is that asymptomatic children will put adult staff in danger, so it is essential that we see a programme of testing, PPE (personal protective equipment) and contact tracing throughout the education sector before schools are fully reopened."
However, earlier today, Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said that headteachers “start actively thinking and preparing for how a return to school can be safely achieved”.
Supply teachers subjected to a 'three ring circus' chasing pay during lockdown
Thousands of supply teachers are going unpaid because of confusion over their status under the government scheme and who is reponsible - or who can afford - to pay them during the school shutdown period.
They are facing a "daily fight" to try and secure their financial status via constant emails and calls, Tes has revealed today.
Agencies and umbrella organisations who deal with recruitment and pay of temporary teachers are now calling on the government to provide them with an emergency loan to cover the costs of furloghing the stand-in staff.
Early years architect calls for suspension of RBA in favour of an 'emergency' baseline assessment
An internationally-recognised early years specialist is calling for the government to develop an “emergency” replacement for the controversial baseline assessment.
Jan Dubiel, who oversaw the implementation of the EYFS profile, said the current RBA should be suspended and a “hybrid model of teacher-led observational assessment” brought in for the 2020 cohort.
He said: “Not only would this provide us with the unique national picture which will help shape future policy, but detailed and meaningful information for Reception teachers to support the obviously exceptional needs of the cohort as they start school.”
However the Department for Education told Tes it intends for the current RBA to go ahead as planned, although this will be kept under review in light of the coronavirus crisis.
Read the full story here.
MPs call for evidence on coronavirus impact on disadvantaged education
The Education Select Committee of cross party MPs has issued a call for evidence of the covid-19 crisis impact on disadvantaged pupils, as part of its wider examination of how poorer white students in schools.
Robert Halfon, chair of the Commons education select committee, and MP for Harlow, said: "The outbreak will have a particularly heavy bearing on those from disadvantaged groups.
"It is therefore vital that we continue to work to ensure they are properly supported and remain absolutely determined that this unprecedented national crisis does not set back efforts in tackling the social injustices faced by too many groups."
Children return to outdoor lessons at Denmark schools
Hundreds of thousands of Danish children were the first in Europe to return to school yesterday – but life in the classroom remains far from normal.
In order to keep pupils a minimum of two metres apart, schools have reportedly split classes in half; moved of lessons outside; shortened school days; and told children to play in small groups.
Cecilie Harrits, the Aarhus head of Skole og Foraeldre, an organisation for primary school parents, told the Financial Times that some schools were renting tents or using scout facilities for teaching as social distancing measures put a strain on resources.
The news comes as other countries across Europe consider their lockdown exit strategies.
Germany will reopen schools from the beginning of next month, while children at kindergartens in Norway will return on Monday.
School re-opening schedule speculation continues
After leading politicians began to speculate about prioritising school re-openings, schools leaders and teachers have been taking to the airwaves and social media to warn about rushing to end the shutdown.
Meanwhile, the confusion surrounding the government's free school meals voucher scheme continued to swirl, with a group of MPs adding their voices to the debate via a letter to Gavin Williamson questioning why a third of schools haven't been able to register with the scheme and why vouchers for expensive supermarkets such as Waitrose were being provided but not for cheaper rivals such as Aldi.
Catch-up with yesterday's news here. In the meantime, we'll bring you all the latest developments as they emerge as we end the fourth week of closures (what would have been the end of the Easter break).