SCHOOLS across England will close on Friday afternoon for most pupils until further notice.
The Government said the action was aimed at slowing down the spreading of the coronavirus.
Plans will be put in place for children of NHS staff, police officers and delivery drivers to ensure they can continue their work during the COVID-19 crisis.
The shutdown also covers nurseries and colleges.
Provision is being made for children who receive school meals to ensure they are properly fed while they are not at school.
Exams will not take place during May and June but the Government said pupils’ qualifications would not be impeded by the decision and it would ensure they will get the awards they deserve.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked the teachers and headteachers for their work and said by helping look after the children of key workers they would be helping in the fight against coronavirus.
And he said children should not be left with grandparents and older people in high risk groups when it came to COVID-19.