National Education Union joint general secretary Dr Mary Bousted explained why her union was calling for schools to close for the first two weeks of term.
She told BBC Breakfast: “It will be helpful with two weeks’ Christmas break where there was mixing over Christmas and unfortunately that has raised levels of infection, but you would hope that for a month where there largely has been less mixing, viral levels will go down in the community and they will go down in schools.
“If they haven’t, then we’re in a really dangerous situation.”
Dr Bousted said she hoped schools could implement new measures to help reduce the spread of the virus, with the additional two weeks as well as setting up testing in secondary schools, which she called to be extended to primary schools.
She continued: “Education is really, really important… but you’re not going to get that education if this virus gets out of control in the community because schools will have to close then for a longer period of time.”