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Homeschooling could return amid fears over teacher shortages due to Covid

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  Schoolchildren could be forced to return to online learning as mass Covid-related absences hit the teaching workforce. According to insiders, ministers fear too many teachers will be off sick for all schools begin the new term as normal and back up plans for some home schooling may be triggered. Any move back to virtual lessons is seen as a last-resort measure, with other plans drawn up by civil servants including multiple classes being taught in larger halls. It comes as the highly-transmissible Omicron variant drives record high infections, with England logging an unprecedented 162,572 new cases on January 1. One Whitehall source told the Mirror: "We are just being practical. "It is very likely that some schools could have teachers off isolating so we are trying to figure out the best way to keep children in schools. "If all of those aren't possible, then some year groups or classes may have to go online but we are hoping this will be for literally only days.&quo