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End of Term Letter to Parents

End of term arrangements for the 17th and 18th of December 2020

As you will be aware, we’ve recently seen an increasing number of Covid-19 cases in our County Borough. Whilst this pattern has been mirrored to some degree in our schools, the level of infection remains relatively low in school settings. Schools have put in place excellent preventative measures to minimise the risk of the virus spreading and have worked tirelessly to respond to confirmed cases when these have arisen. However, despite these measures the pattern of increasing numbers of cases in the community is likely spread to school settings and further preventative measures are now required.

Welsh Government is committed to keeping our schools open to learners until the end of the term but officials also recognise that the impact of Covid-19 on certain communities has been significant. As rates of Covid-19 in our local communities have risen, so has the consequential impact on the numbers of staff and children in our schools requiring self- isolation due to a confirmed diagnosis or close contact with a confirmed case. In order to mitigate transmission risks further, it now considered that local measures are required for the last two days of term.

All schools will remain open for learners on the 14th , 15th and 16th of December. However, schools will only be open to staff and high priority vulnerable learners on the 17th and 18th of December. Schools will provide access to digital or distance learning opportunities and wellbeing support for all other learners during the 17th and 18th of December. High priority pupils will continue to access education on school sites on these dates unless the school is closed for INSET.page1image39844864page1image39845056page1image62629840page1image39611840

Schools, Education and Children’s Services will work in partnership to identify high priority vulnerable learners which will include those with additional learning needs, young carers and/or children with an allocated social worker. If your child is deemed to be high priority for accessing education on the 17th and 18th of December, the school will notify you at the earliest opportunity. All high priority vulnerable learners that are eligible for school transport will continue to access home to school transport and school lunches on the days that they are in school.

If your child is eligible for free school meals and is not in school for the 14th , 15th or 16th of December, a BACS payment will only be made if your child has to self-isolate as a result of contact from the Local Contact Tracing Service or if the school has told you that your child must self-isolate.

Can you please reinforce the need for your child/ren to actively engage in the distance/digital learning during the 17th and 18th of December. They also need to be reminded:

  • to stay out of other people’s homes, except in very limited circumstances;
  • to limit the times they leave their home, and the distance travelled;
  • that if they do leave home, that they restrict the number of people they come intocontact with;
  • to maintain social distancing, including outdoors;
  • to meet people outdoors rather than indoors where possible;
  • to wash their hands regularly and follow other advice on hygiene; and
  • to immediately self-isolate if they show symptoms of coronavirus.It is also important to remember that when in school that face coverings are worn:
  • outside the classroom in secondary schools;
  • on dedicated school transport if they are in year 7 and above;
  • by visitors to all schools and by parents/carers and relatives when dropping off andcollecting children from school sites; and
  • on school transport for secondary aged learners.On the days when your child is not in school, it is important that you still notify the school if your child is confirmed as having Covid-19. However, from the 22nd of December to the 3rd of January 2021 all contact tracing will be undertaken by the Regional Contact Tracing Service. If you have any queries in relating to your child’s self-isolation during the holiday period please contact 01443 425020.It is hoped that these essential measures will help to keep children, staff and communities safe and minimise the transmission of Covid-19. The Council will work with schools to monitor this positon over the next 10 days so that we continue to assess the spread of the virus across our communities. Further measures may be required at a later date and we will provide a further update if this is the case.

I’d like to thank you for all your hard work in supporting your child/ren during a very challenging 2020. I am sure you will agree that our school staff have been exceptional during this pandemic.

My very best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

Yours sincerely,

Gaynor Davies
Director of Education & Inclusion Services