Teachers have begun preparing "home-learning packs" for pupils ahead of a coronavirus update by Boris Johnson that could see schools close for a month-long Easter break.

The World Health Organisation confirmed the deadly bug as a pandemic – and the UK is expected to take further steps to stop the spread.

If the Prime Minister initiates the “delay” phase of the government plan, schools across the country could shut down, with teachers expected to continue classes remotely as soon as next week.

Pupils could be away from the classroom for up to a month, with an extra week or two stuck on to the Easter break.

Businesses in the UK have already started preparing for an Italy-style lockdown, with employees trialling working from home.

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One teacher told the Mirror: "We have been told an extended Easter break is a very real possibility if the virus spread continues at the predicted rate.

"We are now preparing for that eventuality, but this will not mean two weeks’ extra holiday.

"Schools in our local authority area – both primary and secondary – are drawing up plans for children to be given lessons at home.

"This will come in the shape of material drawn up by staff in advance in the form of set work from the curriculum on paper and also online work.

"Schools are drawing up lists of all children who’ve access to the internet at home even if it is via a parent or guardian’s phone."

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Teachers at two separate London schools have also told Sun Online they are preparing for pupils to learn at home.

School teachers in Staffordshire primary schools have already prepped work for their students to do at home if schools close.

While another told the publication: "We have guidance from our head of the academy who has been told to expect at least a week-long closure, possibly two."

It is thought 16 schools have already shut for short periods where children or staff have been exposed to the virus.

The number of people expected to have been infected with coronavirus in the UK hit 450 people yesterday as the death toll climbed to eight.

Global cases have reached 100,000, with Italy in total lockdown and Donald Trump announced a Europe-wide travel ban to the United States.

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Boris Johnson will chair a Cobra meeting at lunchtime today and is expected to push the UK into the "delay" phase of his coronavirus strategy.

The committee will decide whether or not to close schools, ban large gatherings, and send the UK work force home to isolate.

Hospitals are believed to be preparing to cancel thousands of non-urgent operations to free up beds, while sporting events, concerts and festivals scheduled for the next few weeks are likely to be cancelled.

It is likely the elderly and those with long-term illnesses will be advised to stay at home when the epidemic hits its peak in Britain.

  • Coronavirus

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