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?
How to talk about coronavirus with children
With so much talk about the coronavirus, it is natural that children will be asking questions in school and at home.
We ask the experts about how we should approach these conversations.
Exam boards will find it ‘near impossible’ to cope, warns expert
The sheer volume of pupils applying for special consideration if their exam grades are affected by coronavirus will leave boards struggling to cope, the former head of one of the three major UK exam boards has told Tes.
Speaking anonymously, the former exam board head said he expected pupils to apply for special consideration for their exam grades if schools close, or because they are unwell.
And he said it would be more difficult to standardise papers this year, which could mean grades were “slightly higher” this year.
Better 'on balance' to keep schools open, says Johnson
Despite announcing a series of stricter measures to encourage "social distancing", the government has not decided to close schools today.
Prime minister Boris Johnson said: "We think on balance it is better that we can keep schools open for all sorts of reasons but this is something we need to keep under review.”
How to protect vulnerable staff
How can school leaders best protect staff with underlying health conditions?
Caroline Powell is in the at-risk group and provides this guide.
Can schools really stay open?
Even if schools aren't forced to close, illness and self-isolation could leave many without adequate staff - both teachers and support staff - to safely operate.
As such, schools need to consider what to do in such a situation sooner rather than later.
Nicola Sturgeon: School closures may not be ‘binary choice’
Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that different approaches to school shutdowns could be taken across Scotland.
Ms Sturgeon, along with chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood, once again stressed that there is no immediate plan to close all schools in Scotland.
But they left open the possibility that some schools could close, while others would remain open with a skeleton staff.
Festival of Education cancelled
Another education gathering has been cancelled: The 11th Festival of Education, due to be held on 18-19 June 2020 at Wellington College, will no longer go ahead.
In a statement, the organisers said the decision to cancel was made with "a heavy heart", due "to the current uncertainty around Covid-19".
It follows a decision by the National Education Union to cancel its annual conference, which had been due to run next month.
All by myself…
It’s clear that coronavirus is taking its toll on attendance, as schools across the UK report that rates have dropped to as low as 55 per cent.
But for one teacher across the pond in New Jersey, there’s not a single pupil in sight.
MyTeacherFace, who has more than 100,000 followers on TikTok, looked very lonely as she filmed herself walking around an empty school – which appears to have closed due to the outbreak.
She wrote in a caption: “So lonely. Stay safe, my students. Miss you L”
Are parents already voting with their feet on school closures?
While the government's current advice for schools is to stay open during the outbreak, reports suggest many parents think this is the wrong course.
Headteachers have revealed that attendance has dropped sharply today as the country comes to terms with the spread of the virus.
Chris Dyson, the headteacher of Parklands Primary School, in Leeds, said that attendance at his school was down to 74 per cent this morning, while others on Twitter posted to say their figures had dropped as low as 55 per cent.
There is also a hashtag trending on Twitter - #covid19walkout - in which parents are saying they will withdraw their children from school due to the risk of the infection.
Missing the staffroom? Join ours!
Teaching is a social profession, so it isn't surprising that those who are self-isolating might feel quite lonely – but you aren't alone.
Today, we've launched the #TwitterStaffroom hashtag, which teachers can use to say hello and help isolated teachers connect with peers across the world.
Teachers have already been sharing tips for home working, guilty confessions and pictures of sunny skies seen through home office windows...as well as some grey ones.
So as of 6am this morning Peru is on lockdown for 15 days! Lima has never looked so quiet..and to add to it the mist decided to come in! Any advice on keeping sane and not getting screen eyes from teaching online welcomed! #twitterstaffroom @tes #COVIDー19 #edutwitter #onlineed pic.twitter.com/SWRdMt7YPU— Mrs_FJ (@MrsFJ4) March 16, 2020
Postpone Sats and abolish league tables, say MAT leaders
The government should postpone Sats and abolish league tables in light of the "evolving public health situation", MAT leaders have said.
In a letter to the education secretary and national schools commissioner, Forum Strategy, a network of nearly 200 multi-academy trust CEOs, has said: "We call on the DfE to postpone the KS2 Sats in May, with a view to these taking place later in the term, if at all this year.
"We also ask for contingency plans around GCSE and A-Levels to be made clear before the Easter break and abolition of league tables in 2020."
It added that a "nuanced approach" is required regarding Ofsted inspections, "to ensure there is no impact or risk whatsoever to safeguarding".
Hold the front page: Teaching's a tough job
One upside of the virus? Teachers are finally getting recognised for the challenging job they do.
Durham University professor Roger Mac Ginty tweeted:
I am 30 minutes into home schooling my 6 year old. I suggest that all school teachers are paid £1m per year from now on.— Roger Mac Ginty (@rogermacginty) March 16, 2020
He seemed to hit a nerve, as the post attracted more than 28,000 likes.
'Halt inspections to curb excessive workload,' Ofsted urged
Is there a school in England that has not been affected by Covid-19?
That's the question that leaders of the NEU teaching union have put to Ofsted’s chief inspector, Amanda Spielman, in a letter calling for all routine inspections to stop as schools contend with an “excessive” workload caused by the coronavirus.
It follows guidance from Ofsted stating that inspections may be deferred for providers that are "affected" by the virus.
On Saturday, Sean Harford, Ofsted's national director of education, said Ofsted would "look favourably" on school requests to delay inspections.
Schools and teachers want answers
Another week starts and teachers' long list of unanswered questions is continuing to grow.
When will mass school closures start and teachers be able to do their jobs when they do? Will schools remain open for some pupils? And what will happen about exams.
Light may be shed on the some of these issues later on today after heads leaders emerge from their talks with the DfE this afternoon. But then again they may not.
For a recap of what happened over the weekend as the Association of School and College Leaders was held read our last live blog.