Plans to re-open schools for all pupils in Wales from September welcomed by senior councillor
News that all pupils will be able to return to school in September has been welcomed by a senior Wrexham councillor.
On Thursday Education Minister Kirsty Williams announced that schools that can do so will safely reo-pen from the first week of September, with all schools re-opening from September 14th.
It will be the first time all pupils have had the opportunity to return to school full-time since the pandemic broke out in March.
Plans and preparations are underway between the council and local schools to review risk assessments, processes and systems to ensure pupils can be welcomed back safely, and inline with guidance from Welsh Government.
Schools which can, will reopen from the first week of term. Some specific groups of learners might need to be prioritised during this week, such as Year 7, 12, 13 and Special Units for Secondary, Special Units for Early Years and Year 6.
The minister also announced that:
– Schools will return to full capacity, with only limited social distancing within contact groups.
– At full operations, a contact group should consist of around 30 children. Some direct or indirect mixing between children in different contact groups will also be unavoidable, such as on transport, receiving specialist teaching or due to staffing constraints.
– Social distancing for adults should remain in line with regulations and guidance.
– Schools will be required to minimise the risk of transmission by taking other mitigating measures using the hierarchy of risk controls.
– Every school should continue to be “Covid Protected” – having carried out risk assessments and mitigated them with a combination of controls such as hand and surface hygiene, one-way systems and so forth.
– If early warning information shows a local incident or outbreak then nearby schools should implement appropriate restriction measures.
– Each school will be provided with a supply of home testing kits.
From September 14th, school attendance will be compulsory, with parents asked to contact their school if a pupil is unable to attend to discuss further.
The decision to re-open schools has been welcomed by councillor Phil Wynn, lead member for education in Wrexham, who said that pupils’ learning has been severely impacted by the crisis.
Cllr Wynn said: “Over the last few months, many children will have felt anxious about not being able to learn at school, and not being able to see their friends.
“I welcome the Minister’s plan to allow schools to safely welcome pupils back in September in line with all necessary safety measures and Welsh Government guidance.
“We know hard working staff in schools, learners and their families may well be under additional emotional, financial and psychological pressure during this incredibly challenging period. We will continue to work closely with schools to consider how best to support the ongoing well-being needs of all learners during these challenging times.
“Pupils’ learning has been severely disrupted by the crisis. We welcome the £29m pledge by Welsh Government to recruit extra staff to support the recovery phase, minimise the impacts on pupils, and continue the ongoing work to raise school standards.”
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