when can we expect to return to school in 2021Watch
1) Cases, and therefore hospital admissions, to come down to a manageable level.
2) The vaccine, and the most vulnerable groups being vaccinated (which feeds into the first).
Although cases are falling, there's quite a long lag before this will really affect hospital admissions, and over 30,000 cases a day is still really high- and will probably lead to a high number of admissions. We're probably looking at March before the situation in hospitals will really be "under control" again.
Vaccination is going relatively well, but the average age of people in ICU is apparently 60. 60yos won't be getting the vaccine until around Easter.
It's unlikely that schools will open as normal straight after the February half term. We might see partial openings, like we did last summer- but at the moment, the government seem to be talking about March as a target for reopening schools.
Remember, if schools reopen too quickly, it's likely they will close just as quickly. And the DfE will have to prove to teachers' unions that they are safe.
I would plan as if school won't reopen this term, and then you will be pleasantly surprised if you get to go back sooner.