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Coronavirus: Exams U-turn and socially-distanced salsa

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  • Coronavirus pandemic

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak this Monday evening. We'll have another update for you on Tuesday morning.

1. Exams U-turn

After days of anger from pupils and teachers about how A-level results were calculated, students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will now be able to receive grades estimated by their teachers, rather than by an algorithm. GCSE results, which come out on Thursday, will be awarded in the same way. It comes after about 40% of A-level results were downgraded by exams regulator Ofqual, which used a formula based on schools' prior grades - with exams cancelled because of the pandemic. The U-turn means some pupils will no longer lose out on university places - but for others it is too late.

media captionA-level student Nina welcomes the government's U-turn which means she can train to become a vet

2. Poor pupils face 'catch up'

With most pupils not in school for months, lockdown widened learning gaps between richer and poorer primary school children, an analysis of thousands of families in England suggests. Children from poorer families did at least one hour less learning a day compared with those in richer families, the Institute of Fiscal Studies found. One head teacher says it could take up to two years to bring some children back to their correct attainment level.

media captionParents and children from a school in St Helens told the BBC about their educational struggles during lockdown

3. Vaccine volunteers

More than 100,000 people have signed up to take part in future NHS trials of a coronavirus vaccine - but researchers say more volunteers are needed. They want as many people as possible to enrol, to speed up their efforts to find a safe and effective jab. They are particularly looking for more volunteers from the "high-priority groups" disproportionately affected by the virus - those belonging to ethnic minorities or aged over 65. Our health correspondent James Gallagher has looked at how close we are to getting a vaccine here.

image copyrightPA Media

4. Ryanair cuts flights

Ryanair has said it will cut capacity by 20% in September and October following "notably weakened" bookings in recent days. The airline said the drop was driven by "uncertainty over recent Covid case rates in some EU countries". It said cuts will mostly be in flight numbers as opposed to route closures and they will be "heavily focused" on countries where virus rates have led to the UK and Ireland re-imposing travel restrictions.

image copyrightEPA

5. Socially-distanced salsa

The fiery dance of salsa isn't necessarily something you would think could be compatible with social distancing. But one dance teacher in Peterborough is giving it a go - with participants asked to stay within self-contained boxes rather than holding their partner. Jessica Guastella admitted it was not ideal, but said it was better than having to hold classes entirely on video calls.

media captionCoronavirus: Socially-distanced salsa 'stretches imagination'

And don't forget...

Find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page and get all the latest from our live page.

Plus, find out how to get 50% off your dinner this evening by reading our explainer on the government's "eat out to help out" scheme.

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