Happy New Year to you all. I hope you enjoyed a peaceful and healthy Christmas with your family. Our staff have returned to school today amid continuing uncertainty due to the Covid-19 epidemic and I am sure that you are all feeling that uncertainty yourselves.
Over the past seventy two hours the news regarding the increasing cases of Covid-19 in our communities and the new, more easily spread variant of the virus, has been less than welcome. The the Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated on the Andrew Marr show yesterday morning that more severe measures will be required to control the spread of the virus. Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, said this morning that tighter Covid lockdown rules could be in place within the next twenty four hours. The rules in Wales are being reviewed this week but Mark Drakeford, the First Minister, has made it clear that there is little room for relaxing the measures currently in place. It is clear, therefore, that the situation as it stands is more worrying than it was before Christmas and, with the new, more easily transmissible variant of the disease spreading in many communities across the country, things are more worrying perhaps than at any point since the beginning of the crisis.
There is no evidence that the new variant causes a more severe form of the illness. Nor is there any evidence that children are at greater risk from the new variant than they were from the previous variant. However, the seriousness of the situation was summed up by Matt Hancock on the today programme this morning;
“It’s (also) on all of us to behave as if we have the virus, because this new variant …….. is so much more easily transmitted, it is so much more contagious, you only need a tiny, come into contact with a tiny amount of it to catch the disease and that’s what’s made this period so much harder.”
Matt Hancock BBC Radio 4 Today programme, January 4th 2021.
This ease by which the new variant spreads from person to person may explain why the number of cases is increasing across all age groups and with the situation as it now is, it is vital that we ensure that we all do all we can to protect ourselves and each other.
Some of Conwy’s headteachers are meeting with officers from the local authority this lunchtime. Perhaps we will receive guidance from the authority following this meeting and if so, we will review our risk assessment in line with any guidance we receive. As I see things at the moment, it is the new variant and the increasing ease with which the disease spreads that will be the main focus of any amendments to the risk assessment. Staffing will also be a key consideration given that the critically vulnerable in our communities have received shielding letters once more.
I understand that last minute decisions make things very difficult for everyone. As things stand, unless we are told otherwise, we are open to all learners from Wednesday 6th January 2021. A further letter will be sent out tomorrow giving more details regarding our safety procedures, site management and general operations.
Thank you again for your cooperation, understanding and patience.
Iwan Lloyd Jones