The Government has announced that all schools will close at the end of the week, except for the children of key workers and those who are vulnerable.
The closure of the schools will last until further notice.
Education minister Gavin Williamson said he expected colleges and private schools to follow.
“After the schools shuts their gates on Friday afternoon, they will remain closed for most people until further notice,” Boris Johnson said.
He also pledged to keep the NHS going, and said that criticial workers such as police officers, supermakret delivery drivers and social care workers to carry on being at work.
“We need schools to make provisions for these key workers … and also look after vulnerable children,” he added.
He said that vouchers would be made available for those who had free school meals.
Exams will not take place in May and June, but promised that pupils would get their academic qualifications “that they need and deserve”.
Mr Johnson conceded that this would make things difficult for parents who work, but promised to help.
He also asked parents not to leave youngsters with older people who could be vulnerable to the coronavirus.
“We will take the right steps at the right time,” he said of his efforts to slow the spread of the disease. “We will do whatever it takes so we beat it together.”
Matthew Fell, CBI Chief UK Policy Director for the CBI gace a cautious welcome to the news. He said: “Difficult decisions are having to be made each day and people’s safety must always come first. Today’s announcement on school closures feels necessary, but of course will present challenges for parents and carers.
“Businesses will do all they can to help their employees in these unprecedented times. Companies will make every effort to offer flexible working, but many parents simply won’t be able to do their jobs and care for their children at the same time.
“With so many businesses already struggling with cashflow, government will urgently need to step in with additional support to employees who are unable to work because of school closures.”