Newspaper headlines: UK schools close as London ‘prepares for shutdown’


i front page


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Most of the front pages focus on the announcement that schools across the UK are to close indefinitely from Friday, with A-levels, GCSEs and SATs cancelled, as the coronavirus outbreak worsens. However, teachers will still look after children of “key workers” and vulnerable pupils at school, the i reports. Meanwhile, grandparents have been warned not to take on any childcare duties, the paper says.
Guardian front page


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The Guardian says the announcement was made after the virus spread faster than anticipated, forcing teachers and pupils to self-isolate. Thousands of schools had already decided unilaterally to close or turn away pupils amid staff shortages and parents’ concerns, the paper adds. The prime minister also announced a national voucher scheme to ensure pupils eligible for free school meals get a meal each day and said exams would be replaced by teacher assessment, the Guardian reports.
Daily Mail front page


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The Daily Mail says the “dramatic move” came after the UK death toll rose to 104. The prime minister also hinted further draconian measures could be just days away, saying enforcement of social distancing rules had to be “ruthless” to save lives, the paper reports. In other news, Glastonbury Festival has been cancelled, which the Mail describes as “proof summer really is doomed”.
The Times front page


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The Times describes the measure as “the first nationwide shutdown of schools in British history”. Children of “key workers” and vulnerable pupils will be asked to go to “skeleton” schools, which will not necessarily be their existing school, according to the paper. But it says pupils “were left in limbo” over the cancellation of exams, as Mr Johnson indicated grades would be awarded through an alternative system, but failed to set out details.
Mirror front page


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“School virus chaos” is the headline for the Mirror, which says the announcement left parents and teachers “confused” and “left in the dark” over the details. A union chief said the move raised “more questions than answers”, the paper reports.
Telegraph front page


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Alongside school closures, the government is also drawing up plans to lock down London after a sudden surge of infections, according to the Telegraph. Measures could include restrictions on public transport and the forced closure of pubs and restaurants, while the Army could be drafted in to help police the capital and ensure delivery of vital supplies, the paper reports. It comes as Boris Johnson warned he could not rule out legal restrictions on travel or public gatherings, the Telegraph adds.
Metro front page


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The Metro also carries the news about UK school closures. However, most of its front page is taken up by what it describes as a “heart-wrenching” picture of an elderly man looking at empty shelves in a supermarket in Epsom, Surrey. The image should “make all those hoarders hang their heads in shame”, the paper says. The photo went viral as supermarkets including Sainsbury’s introduced limits on purchases, it adds.
Daily Star front page


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“We’ll crack down on bog roll bandits”, is the Daily Star’s take on the move by supermarkets. It reassures readers Britain’s “toilet paper kings are taking on the hoarders”, with top producer Essity telling the public not to panic.
Financial Times front page


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The Financial Times leads on the impact of the pandemic on global markets, which it says were “rocked in a panic-ridden day of trading” on Wednesday, with forced selling and a loss of faith in government intervention. As London reportedly prepares to go into lockdown to control the outbreak, oil prices dropped to their lowest level in nearly 17 years and sterling tumbled almost 4% against the dollar to its lowest level since the 1980s, the paper says.
Daily Express front page


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Meanwhile, the Daily Express says there is “hope” in the fight against the virus as scientists “are working faster than ever” to deliver new treatments and testing methods. A British team received the green light on Wednesday to begin Phase II human trials of a drug that could help hospital patients fight off infection, according to the paper. And Boris Johnson revealed that Public Health England is close to perfecting an antibody test that will be a “game-changer” for diagnosis, it reports.

The front pages of many of the morning papers focus on the UK school closures and cancellation of exams in England and Wales.

The Guardian calls it the “first countrywide school shutdown in modern times”; the Sun “the most drastic move yet”, which it warns could lead to “exam chaos”.

The Daily Mirror suggests the plans have confused parents and staff. A union chief tells the paper that they raised “more questions than answers”.

The Times says “pupils were left in limbo”, as they waited to find out how their grades would be awarded. According to the paper, head teachers plan to lobby ministers to consider some form of tests.

The Daily Telegraph believes different models are being considered including using predicted grades, teacher-led assessments and a fresh set of exams.

The Guardian urges that the issue be given careful thought, so they don’t penalise those who could have improved their grades by June.

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PA Media


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There is uncertainty over how pupils will get their qualifications with GCSEs and A-levels in England and Wales cancelled

Melanie McDonagh writes in the Spectator about the headache of working from home with children around. She surmises that not a lot of schooling will be done either, despite the offerings of Google Classroom.

HuffPost UK offers a few tips on how to cope from following your normal routine to creating a designated workspace so your children know when you’re busy.


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The Daily Telegraph is among several papers to speculate on whether restrictions could be brought into London as early as Friday.

The Daily Mail points out that more than a third of coronavirus cases have been diagnosed in the capital.

With no confirmation of what might happen, the Telegraph says it has not been ruled out that people could require paperwork to travel.

The Financial Times goes further – based on a single source it moots the idea that only one person might be allowed to leave their home at a time.

Such unconfirmed thoughts are dismissed by a City Hall source, who tells the Daily Express they have heard nothing, suggesting any action is not imminent.

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There have been more than 900 confirmed cases of coronavirus in London

The European Union has called on Netflix and YouTube to limit their services because of fears the continent’s broadband networks could crash, according to the Financial Times. There are worries that domestic broadband connections which were designed to cope with evening surges could not handle adults’ video conferences and children’s online classes.

Vodafone tells the FT that peak time now stretches from midday to 21:00 GMT, and raises concerns about the launch next week of Disney’s new streaming service.

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Family Photo


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Harry Dunn died in hospital after his motorbike was involved in a crash outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire

The Mirror, Express and Daily Star all report the concerns of the family of Harry Dunn about the time it took the ambulance to reach the 19-year-old, who died after being hit by a car outside an American military base.

They have talked to Health Secretary Matt Hancock about the 43-minute delay, which they believe was caused by bed blocking.

And as families worry about the anxieties of self isolating, the Sun reports that the model Naomi Campbell is relishing the experience.

Apparently it gives her time to wallow in the tub in what the paper calls a “crisp bath”. The 49-year-old adds Epsom salts, Kosher salts and vinegar to the water, which she claims is very calming for the nervous system.


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