Welcome to the Tes coronavirus liveblog. The outbreak of Covid-19 is an uncertain time for everyone, but schools and teachers are likely to face more disruption than many.
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?
School closure prep: a complete guide
Schools are prepping for potential closures but the complexity of the task of teaching remotely is huge. So Tes has compiled all the key questions asked by school leaders and teachers and attempted to find the answers.
The result is our ‘Complete guide to planning for school closures’, which offers general advice on tech solutions, specific advice for all school types and an overview of all the key considerations for school leaders.
Your feedback is welcome - let us know what your school is doing and we will update as appropriate.
Full list of school closures worldwide published
International school data crunchers ISC Research have created a weekly updated list of countries and their school closure status in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
It includes summaries and links to more information for all affected countries from Armenia and Azerbaijan (all schools closed) to Spain's decision taken earlier today to close all schools and universities in it's capital city Madrid.
Plan to use mock GCSE grades if finals cancelled is a 'headless chicken approach'
Schools are asking pupils to return their mock GCSE scripts incase they need to be used in place of final grades if summer exams are cancelled, Tes has learned.
Some headteachers are searching for ways to prepare for exam cancellations in the face of "bland" non-specific advice from Ofqual.
Schools in Scotland and England are considering this measure as a way of coping if schools are closed by the Covid-19 outbreak.
However others have called the suggestion a "headless chicken approach".
How will FSM pupils be fed if schools close?
Discussions between headteachers have begun on social media about how schools can ensure free school meal pupils get access to a hot meal if schools close, in the absence of official guidance from the Dfe.
Passmore Academy head Vic Goddard said they have asked if they can use funding to get supermarket vouchers for affected families:
Awaiting an answer as to whether we can issue a supermarket voucher to families of FSM children up to the value of the funding we receive for them in the case of school closure. It is not a perfect solution but is a way of ensuring those families receive it @educationgovuk— Vic Goddard (@vicgoddard) March 11, 2020
A fellow headteacher at Blessed John Henry Newman RC College replied to say they plan to divert funding to the local foodbank:
We will update on official guidance when available.
What are children saying about coronavirus in the playground?
Jane Somers, a parent in the Scottish Borders, is hearing (often wildly misinformed) coronavirus rumours spreading among schoolchildren.
But they are also reacting with wit and ingenuity, as the covid-19 outbreak inspires fresh takes on Hollywood blockbusters and traditional playground games.
She asks: could children’s coping mechanisms have lessons for adults who are stressing out about coronavirus?
Read the full article here.
Helpline not helpful for early years, government told
The DfE coronavirus helpline has been criticised for not being "up to speed" on latest advice on what action early years providers need to be taken amidst the Covid-19 outbreak.
Conservative MP and chair of the women and equalities committee Caroline Nokes sought reassurance on the helpline after her consituent, Abbotswood Day Nursery owner Lou Simmons, contacted her to say the helpline had provided answers to the questions she had.
Responding to the question in Parliament today, Children and families minister Vicky Ford said that reassuring early years providers was a 'top priority' for the government.
Disinfect the light switches, teachers advised
Pupils or staff with suspected Coronavirus symptoms should be isolated while advice or support is being sought, and commonly touched areas such as light switches should be regularly disinfected, teachers have been advised.
Latest guidance from the DfE and trade unions sets out how teachers should react to help keep schools running safely amidst the Covid-19 outbreak.
It includes advice about cleaning, washing hands and what to do if someone in school has suspected symptoms.
Secondary school staff member diagnosed with Covid-19
A member of staff from Trinity School, in Carlisle, has been diagnosed with coronavirus, but the school has no plans to close.
A message to parents on the school's website states: "We have been made aware by Public Health England (PHE) that a member of staff from Trinity School in Carlisle has been diagnosed with Covid-19.
"The school has been in discussion with Public Health England and they have advised there is no need for any action to be taken by children (and their parents) attending the school."
DfE invites coronavirus questions via Twitter - but hasn't replied to any (yet)
The Department for Education has been swamped with replies to a tweet it sent about coronavirus:
Got any questions about Coronavirus in an education setting?— Department for Education (@educationgovuk) March 9, 2020
At the DfE we've got a helpline offering guidance for anyone with education related questions - from early years up to universities, plus parents. #COVID19 #Coronavirus #COVIDー19 pic.twitter.com/6j2cA5S89h
Questions tweeted in response included whether parents who took their children out of school would be fined:
Yes.. when are you going to drop the fines for parents wishing to take their children out of school for a while? Children need their parents too... how many have an underlying health condition? More importantly how many don’t even know they have one until it’s too late?— lweston (@lweston38913214) March 9, 2020
There were also questions about exam season, school trips, and whether snack tables for young pupils were a good idea:
Does living near a landfill site that takes hospital waste increase our risk, should the site be changing its working practices? Open snack tables, children chewing everything, should eyfs units shut now.— J Smith (@phebe_009) March 9, 2020
But at the time of writing, the DfE was yet to respond to any of the queries.
Ofsted refutes rumours of ‘panic’ Covid-19 inspections
Noticed a lot of Twitter teachers suddenly announcing they've had "the call" from Ofsted?
Despite speculation that the inspectorate might be rushing to visit schools before their doors are shut by coronavirus, Ofsted says it's "business as usual".
5 lessons from a school in lockdown
What’s life like for teachers who work in a school closed due to Coronavirus? Here are five things that took this principal in Milan by surprise….
Just who will be responsible for mass school closures in England?
Our reporter Amy Gibbons has been trying to find out. But a clear answer has proved elusive.
The DfE directed her inquiry to Public Health England, but Public Health England told Tes to speak to the DfE or the Department of Health, which in turn told Tes to speak to the DfE. Not so clear then.
Amy did however uncover a lot of useful information for teachers which you can read about here.
Headline: Coronavirus: Don't let pupils give in to melodrama
The latest news on the spread of coronavirus, and the decision of some headteachers to close schools, has led to a kind of mild hysteria.
Every small sniffle, sneeze or cough is looked on with suspicion. And children who previously seldom – if ever – washed their hands now carry hand sanitiser around with them everywhere, spreading its gloopy mess all over their books until they become impossible to mark.
This trend for dramatic fatalisation should ring alarm bells, writes Haili Hughes.
Podcast: What we can learn from the international sector
Tes head of content Ed Dorrell sits down with Kevin Ruth, the executive director of the Educational Collaborative for International Schools, a membership organisation for more than 400 schools across the globe.
They discussed what schools are doing to mitigate a Coronavirus shutdown, the resilience of heads and principals in these circumstances, and the extraordinary communities of learning that are springing up online in which teachers share their experiences of how to keep learning going even after their schools have been shut down.
The top 5 handwashing songs for pupils
Some more useful practical advice for you. With hand hygiene becoming crucial to slowing the spread of Covid-19 what is the most useful way of getting pupils to take the message on board?
Here Tes' own Grainne Hallahan collects together 5 of the best videos that could help.
Teacher conference attendees told to maintain 'good hygiene'
Will the big teaching union conferences go ahead as planned this year?
There are no plans to postpone them - yet - but senior leaders attending the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) annual conference in Birmingham this weekend will be asked “to maintain good hand and respiratory hygiene”.
Cancelled trips could cost schools millions
Schools are coming under pressure from parents to cancel school trips planned for Easter - but this could have "serious financial implications", a head teachers' union leader has told Tes.
The cost of cancelling schools trips to destinations that the government hasn't issued any official warning about could run into millions, according to ASCL.
Pupils try to foil online homework app
Pupils have always found ingenious ways to avoid homework, but Coronavirus has led to some children to come up with a particularly inventive way to sidestep their studies.
In Wuhan, China, where the outbreak originated, all schools are closed and many pupils are being taught via an online homework app.
But pupils have been submitting tens of thousands of negative reviews of the app in an attempt to shut it down, according to a report.
Everything teachers need to know about coping with the virus
The Coronavirus presents all kinds of potential challenges to teachers, including safeguarding concerns, how to keep teaching if schools are shut and how to deal with larger classes.
So we've bundled all the advice for teachers into one handy place.
Pressure mounts for mass school closures
Parliament will have to discuss whether to close schools across the country after a petition attracted the required number of signatures.
The petition calls on the government to "at least consider closing schools/colleges down in the coming weeks or as soon as possible, in addition to taking necessary actions to prevent further spread".
School reveals it has begun closure prep
The chief executive of Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust has revealed that it is prepping for 2-3 weeks closure.
“We’re going to have an AM and PM teaching session delivered by our staff using Skype for Business every day," Sir Mark Grundy told the Today programme.
“It couldn’t come at a worse time. We’re very concerned, and it’s not just about us being concerned – the youngsters are really concerned," he added.
Keep calm and continue revising says Ofqual
The exam regulator has sought to quash speculation that revision timetables could be postponed amidst potential school closures.
GCSE and A level students should continue with their revision schedules and expect exams to go ahead as planned, it said.
AI powered teachers waiting in the wings
Ed-tech firms sporting the latest AI tech to create virtual teachers and classrooms are clamouring to step into support remote learning if schools close over the coming weeks.
Companies including Century Tech are among those highlighting how they can help teachers if Covid-19 shuts school doors.
However Rose Luckin, professor of learner-centred design at UCL Knowledge Lab and director of the UCL Educate programme said most primary schools do not have the capability to support remote teaching.
“Very few primary school have the sophisticated technology and the IT support in order to be able to really do this. I think it’s just too much to expect from them," she told the BBC Today programme.
Her warning is echoed today by Geoff Barton, general secretary or the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL). Writing for Tes today on how the sector could prep for potential school closures, he warned: "The provision of technology across the education sector is woefully uneven."
Iran closes schools for two weeks
Iranian schools will be shut for at least two weeks as the country struggles to delay the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
The move came after its health ministry said cases had been reported in almost every province.
'Quick – lick the door handles'
Some interesting reactions on Facebook to our story on headteachers calling for Sats and league tables to be scrapped if coronavirus causes widespread primary school closures…
F40 group of lowest-funded councils puts "health first" and cancels next week's conference
The F40 group's Fair Funding Education conference has become the first event to fall foul of "increasing concerns" about the spread of coronavirus in the UK.
The event was due to take place next week in central London.
In a statement, it said that its organising committee decided to cancel to "put people’s health first".
"With a number of people travelling a considerable distance, some were understandably concerned about travelling and attending events at this time," it says.
"We were also mindful that a number of our speakers and delegates were headteachers, some from special educational needs schools, meaning they are in regular contact with vulnerable people, many of whom may have underlying health issues," it adds.
VIDEO: Mat leader rolls up his sleeves to help teachers inspire pupils to sing and wash
Les Walton, former government education adviser and founding chair of the Northern Education Trust academy chain has broken into song on social media to show teachers how they can inspire pupils to wash their hands for long enough to guard against Coronavirus.
#coranvirus advice for #headteachers . Ask your #pupils to sing Happy Birthday (quietly or not) with the 5 SEC countdown. This is the length of time they should wash their hands.Make sure they wash between their fingers! pic.twitter.com/3SdodTXlUB— Les Walton CBE FRSA (@LesWalton500) February 28, 2020
In the video, Mr Walton counts down from five and then sings "Happy Birthday to someone" to demonstrate how primary school children can ensure they are washing their hands for long enough.
Italy confirms nationwide school shutdown
Italy's schools and universities are closed today and are not expected to reopen until after 15 March.
The move was confirmed last night by the Italian government, which said that the "prudent suspension" was decided after detailed analysis of how the virus was spreading.
Italy has seen the worst outbreak of Covid-19 in Europe so far, with more than 100 deaths and more than 3,000 infections.
Heads say Sats tests and league tables must be scrapped if school closures escalate
The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) is calling for accountability measures to be put on hold if large swathes of primary school children are unable to sit this year's Sats tests due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Speaking on the BBC Today Programme this morning, Geoff Barton, ASCL general secretary, said: “You’re not going to be able to judge School A against School B if School B happens to be closed anyway.
UK government-ordered school closures a step closer as action plan moves to ‘delay’ phase
Breaking news from this morning in Westminster – Whitehall intervention on school closures has become more of a possibility because the government has moved from the "containment" to the "delay" phase of its coronavirus action plan.
The escalation of the UK’s official response to the outbreak was revealed by chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty (pictured), who was speaking to MPs on the Commons health select committee this morning.
"We are now mainly in the delay [phase of the action plan]," said Professor Whitty.
The government action plan said the delay phase could include school closures as part of its "population distancing strategies".
Playground coronavirus game
The article, which is attracting huge interest today, reveals parents reporting that the aim of the game is to "breathe on people" who become "locked in the zone" (aka the playground climbing frame) for the rest of lunchtime "with no human rights".
A special school near Mitcham, south-west London, is the latest in a growing list of UK schools to close following the Covid-19 outbreak.
Bedelsford School has revealed on its website that a member of staff was currently being tested following a return from a Category 2 area at half term, while the local media reported the school was undergoing “a deep clean”.
'Racism against Chinese pupils increases'
Sadly, more on the bullying theme. Today the NASUWT teaching union revealed it is “extremely concerned" about increasing incidents of racism towards Chinese and East Asian pupils and teachers in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
The union says there has been an increase in “jokes, banter, racist name-calling and intimidation” and, in one instance, says pupils were playing an “unsavoury game of tag” named after the coronavirus.
“Misinformation and false reporting about the coronavirus, its causes and how it is spread have fuelled fear and panic – and in some cases led to the ostracising of people of East Asian heritage and others perceived to be ‘foreign’ or an ‘immigrant’ within the UK," says Chris Keates, NASUWT acting general secretary.
Key safeguarding concerns for schools
Coronavirus will present schools with numerous safeguarding concerns, explains Ceri Stokes, not least the question as to what schools should be telling the students.
"Younger students have already been heard to ask if everyone is going to die," she writes. "And I have even heard cases of children being bullied because they have a cold.
"We cannot ignore the subject in schools – social media and the press aren’t ignoring it, so we need to speak up."
Italy's schools the latest to go?
The Italian government has decided to close all schools and universities to limit the spread of coronavirus, it is being reported.
All schools in Italy will be closed from Thursday until mid March because of the outbreak, according to the Italian Asna news agency.
However the Italian education minister has not confirmed the reports, and said a final decision on school closures will be taken in the next few hours.
Hundreds more schools about to be closed – for 4 weeks at least
Teachers in the UAE are about to become the latest to have their lives disrupted by Covid-19. That includes those working in state schools and more than 600 international schools in the Middle East country.
All schools are to receive a "deep clean" and distance learning is to be used during the second half of this enforced month-long break.
How to keep teaching if your school is closed
First up, the really important stuff. This article has been top of the Tes most-read list for days now.
As things progress more and more teachers are likely to find themselves having to cope with sudden school closures. Here, Luis Moreno runs through what can be done to ensure that education continues.
The key is not to panic. Online cloud tools can allow teachers to engage with students remotely and the article runs through some of the most useful available.
Flipped learning and reinforcing and consolidating previous knowledge and concepts can also help.