As you will be aware Marke Drakeford, First Minister has announced today that significantly enhanced restriction measures will be implemented in Wales from 6pm on Friday October 23rd until midnight on November 9th. These measures will include the half-term holiday and cover a two week period, ending on Monday November 9th. These restrictions, or fire-break, is intended to help to bring the Covid-19 virus under control in an attempt to reduce the number of people being taken to hospital with coronavirus symptoms and to minimise pressures on our health and social care staff.
Between Friday October 23rd and Monday November 9th, everyone in Wales will be required to stay home wherever possible. The only exceptions to this requirement will be for critical workers and for those individuals who cannot work from home. All non-essential retail, leisure, hospitality, tourism businesses, community centres, libraries and recycling centres will close.
Keeping children safe remains the highest priority for the Council and for Welsh Government and with this in mind:
• Childcare facilities will stay open
• Primary schools, special schools, pupil referral units and Education Otherwise that at School (EOTAS) provision will re-open as normal after the half-term break
• Secondary schools will re-open after the half-term for years 7 & 8 only
• For all pupils sitting exams in November, they will attend school for examinations only
• For learners in years 9-13 education will be provided through distance learning in the home.
This will require your child to access learning opportunities remotely, through digital means using ICT or through work packs sent to your home. It is vitally important that you and your child routinely check school communication channels and platforms to establish what work and learning your child is required to engage in.
Welsh Government will be issuing guidance for schools for this period shortly which will include minimum expectations for learning. This will include teachers delivering online lessons from the classroom to your home.
Free school meal arrangements will be put in place over half-term for all learners who are eligible and this will be paid via BACS payment. This payment will be put in place for pupils in years 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 for the second week when the restrictions are in place.
Restricting the number of pupils in schools will contribute to the wider national effort aimed at reducing the spread of Covid-19. The relatively small number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in our schools, suggests that schools have good infection control measures in place for keeping learners and staff safe. The priority as always is to keep everyone safe and to minimise any disruption to learning during this period. School transport will continue to run as normal and all previously issued guidance remains relevant.
Here is detailed information and frequently asked questions from Welsh Government: https://gov.wales/national-coronavirus-fire-break-to-be-introduced-in-wales-on-friday
We will continue to keep you updated of any changes as and when these get announced.
Thank you for your continued support in keeping your child safe and for ensuring continued learning during these challenging times.
Director of Education and Inclusion Services