On Friday, we received the following from the new Education Minister for Wales, Jeremy Miles:
“………….. I want to be as clear as I can be at this time about the basis on which you
should currently plan for September to limit the disruption for you and your learners:
- We will no longer be recommending the routine use of face coverings in classrooms
- Contact groups/bubbles will no longer be recommended. However we will use our TTP system in order to identify close contacts of learners who have tested positive and TTP may contact your school to supplement the information they have gathered with any further intelligence you may have available. Our expectation of your school is that you follow the specific advice you receive from TTP about whether individuals need to self-isolate.
- Normal session times will resume.
- Secondary school children and education workforce should be encouraged to test before returning to school.”
Therefore, here are the main changes for September that will affect you as parents:
- School for juniors will start at 9.00am. Gate will open at 8.50am for all juniors. Juniors will leave at 3.15pm
- School for infants will start at 9.00am. Gate will open at 8.50am for all infants. Infants will leave at 3pm.
- Nursery mornings will arrive at 9.05am and leave at 11.15am.
- Nursery afternoons will arrive at 12.45pm and leave at 2.55pm.
- Lunch will be taken by all pupils in the hall
- Breakfast club will remain as it is – booking by email only
- Pupils will be expected to wear school uniform apart from days when they have PE. They can come to school in their PE kit. There will be no PE during the first week of term.
- After school clubs will recommence. More information about this to follow.
However, the following measures will remain.
Public health advice to minimise COVID-19 risks
Public health advice to minimise COVID-19 risks The system of controls, established by Public Health Wales set out in this section continue to provide a set of principles for infection control; if schools/ settings follow this advice and maximise the use of these control measures, they will effectively minimise risks of viral transmission. All elements of the system of controls are essential. All schools/settings must address each of these elements, but the way schools/settings implement some of the requirements will differ based on their individual circumstances.
Local authorities, schools and settings must comply with health and safety law, which requires them to assess risks and put in place proportionate control measures. Schools/settings, with their local authority, should thoroughly review their health and safety risk assessments to ensure they continue to address the risks identified in the system of controls, with which schools and settings will now be familiar.
Essential measures include:
- a requirement that people stay at home and self-isolate if they:
◦ have symptoms of COVID-19, whether they feel unwell or not ◦ have tested positive, even if asymptomatic
◦ have been advised by NHS Wales Test Trace Protect (TTP) to do so
◦ are household members of a positive case, even if that case is asymptomatic
◦ are required to self-isolate for travel-related reasons
- instilling robust hand and respiratory hygiene in learners and staff members
- ensuring appropriate ventilation measures on school premises and continuing increased thorough cleaning arrangements
- active engagement with TTP strategy
- formal consideration of how to reduce contacts and maximise social and physical distancing between those in school, wherever possible, and putting in place appropriate mitigating measures to minimise the potential for contamination so far as is reasonably practicable. Reducing close interactions between learners, learners and staff, and between staff is still important.
Schools/settings should ensure the following:
- Staff maintaining social distance from other staff.
- Staff maintaining social distancing from learners as much as possible, recognising this may not be possible with younger learners. This may not also be possible for some learners in special schools and some learners with SEN; in those cases you should refer to the guidance on supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged learners.
- Making the most of the space available, including outdoor space.
Iwan Lloyd Jones