Wrexham schools won’t fully reopen on 22nd as Council take ‘cautious’ approach with case rate at 217 per 100k
Wrexham Council have confirmed they will not be following Welsh Government’s lead on allowing some younger primary school pupils to return to schools.
Today’s seven day benchmark case rate for Wrexham is 217.7 per 100k, the highest in Wales. Second is Flintshire with 203.7 per 100k, both substantially higher than the majority of Wales, and roughly double the Welsh total.
As it stands face-to-face learning in schools has been suspended by Welsh Government, apart for the children of critical workers and vulnerable learners subject to certain criteria.
Welsh Government had indicated a preference for an all-Wales approach on the return for those aged between three and seven to school, with some local flexibility if required, starting from the 22nd of February. The Welsh Government reopening plan would see the introduction of twice-weekly testing for staff members as well as increased financial support for new face coverings.
Wrexham.com understand there had been a firmly expressed desire from Welsh Government for Wrexham Council to follow the wider lead despite the local figures, something that is taking place nearby in Flintshire who are at a similar cases per 100k rate, yet will be proceeding with the 22nd February plan.
Today Wrexham Council have said, “Although coronavirus levels are falling in Wrexham, the figures are still very high, so the council and headteachers are carefully considering plans, while continually monitoring the local situation.”
“In light of this cautious approach, children will not be returning to schools in Wrexham until Friday, February 26 at the very earliest – depending on local coronavirus levels after half-term.”
Councillor Phil Wynn, Wrexham Council’s Lead Member for Education, says:
“Coronavirus levels have been much worse in Wrexham compared to many other parts of Wales in recent weeks, so this is a cautious approach we’re taking.
“We’ll monitor the local situation continually, and will work with schools to review and finalise arrangements after half-term.
“Foundation phase learners will not return until February 26 at the very earliest, and headteachers will keep parents fully informed.
“It’s all about helping to keep people safe, and the wellbeing of our pupils, staff, parents, carers and wider communities is our priority.”
Councillor Mark Pritchard, Leader of the Council, adds:
“We’re working with primary head teachers, school governors, Public Health Wales and Welsh Government to make sure the return to school is both safe and sustainable.
“We must remember that this is a terrible virus, and we can’t afford to drop our guard.
“This is why it’s so important that we work in partnership to keep our children, school employees and the communities where our schools are located as safe as we possibly can.”
Karen Evans, Chief Officer for Education and Early Intervention, says:
“With the council’s support, schools will be planning carefully for the return of foundation phase pupils, taking into account the local situation after half-term.
“I’d also like to reiterate our thanks to parents and carers of older children, who will continue to learn from home.
“We know that remote-learning presents many challenges for families trying to manage work and home responsibilities, and we’re truly grateful to parents, children and staff for their continued efforts.”
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