SCHOOLS will remain open for the children of key workers over the Easter holiday period.

But they have warned they may combine in some areas if they have low numbers.

Schools were due to close for a two-week break on Friday April 6 but are now keeping classes running as those working in vital industries battle to fight coronavirus.

A spokesman for BCP Council said: “Schools will remain open, although if some have low numbers, they may combine temporarily.”

And a Dorset Council spokesman added: “The government is keen that schools remain open for vulnerable children and children of key workers over the Easter period.

“We have a duty to provide an offer and are working together with schools to make sure that we have sufficient places open for children in the local area.”

Schools have remained open since the lockdown to allow key workers to continue with their vital work.

Key workers include those working in health and social care, such as doctors and nurses, and education workers including nursery and teaching staff.

They also include public service workers such as journalists, those involved in benefits payments, people working in food production and transport and those involved in public safety such as police and security staff.

Numbers have been low with some schools open for less than 10 children.

The Ambitions Academies Trust runs primary, secondary and nursery schools across Bournemouth and Poole.

Chef Executive Sian Thomas told the Daily Echo: “All Ambitions schools are open throughout the Easter holidays. We have been working hard with our communities to support our key worker families alongside the other groups that have been identified as being eligible to attend school.

“Ambitions can’t praise enough all of our staff and our communities for the way in which they have operated over the past week. Our philosophy has been to try and stay connected to our communities and whether it’s for setting work or to being at the end of a phone to support families in these exceptional times, like the nation we are all working to not only cope with the current circumstances but also to plan for the future.”

Schools are also continuing to provide free meals for those entitled to them regardless of whether or not they are attending school.

The meals can be collected from many schools, or are being delivered, and the government has confirmed the full costs of the meals will be met.

The move was welcomed by Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, who said: “The NEU is relieved that the Department for Education has clarified that it will meet the full costs incurred by schools for providing Free School Meals and getting them to children who are at home.

“We hope this will cover any hidden costs that arise as schools work out the best way to operate during shut down.”