The Prime Minister has outlined plans to loosen lockdown for what he hopes will be the final time., starting with socially distanced reopening of all schools and colleges from March 8th.
Pupils will be able to return to school, much to the relief of parents who have been struggling to balance home schooling with work, although secondary schools will still be required to wear a mask in classrooms for the foreseeable future unless the 2 metre social distancing rules can be applied. They will still be required to wear them in all communal areas.
With infections rates continuing to fall over the past month thanks partly to both the third national lockdown and the effects of vaccinations starting to have an impact, the PM is hopeful that schools can safely return to face to face teaching.
Face coverings will still be a requirement in all higher educational environments such as colleges and universities.
Scotland has adopted a different approach with a staged return to the classroom over a number of weeks.
There are still no plans at present to vaccinate teaching staff but it is thought that could change as more vaccines are administered to at risk groups. This comes despite leading teaching unions calling for the government to take a more cautions approach with a phased return to class in line with the rest of the UK.
Some Welsh pupils in the three to seven age group have already returned to class this morning, with the country taking a similar staged approach as Scotland.
It is with great irony that Mr Johnson made this announcement on the same day that infection rates have slightly risen by 9% on last Monday for the first time in six weeks but at the same time the death rate has dropped to it's lowest figures since mid December with a figure of 178 more succumbing to the virus.