COVID-19 - School FAQs

Page updated on: 15/10/2021

Our key priority has always been the safety of children, their families and school staff and this will continue to be our main consideration during the recovery period.

It is important we all work together and follow the general COVID guidelines including frequent testing, keeping children at home if they show any symptoms, however mild, and getting the vaccine when offered (includes 12 and 17-year-olds). It is important we continue to wash our hands regularly and wear face coverings where required.

Schools will only need to consider putting further measures in place if the local risks differ from the national situation, and the council will work closely with schools to decide on how these measures should be tailored if they are needed.

Please remember:

  • If your child is showing any of the ‘classic’ symptoms of Covid-19 (a high temperature, a new continuous cough or loss or change in taste/smell) he or she should not attend school. Please book a PCR test online or by calling 119.
  • If the test is positive, please let the school know. Your child should self-isolate and not attend school until the date given by the TTP service.

Please note Welsh Government no longer recommend that children under 5 take COVID-19 tests, unless parents/carers have a significant concern or if they’re asked to by a doctor.

For up-to-date information on the operation of schools during the pandemic including guidance on testing and contact tracing, face coverings and vaccinations please visit the Welsh Government website.

Please see below FAQs in relation to school meals and school transport. Get in touch via the "Ask a question" tab if there is anything you need additional information about.

Thank you for your continued support and co-operation.

If your child is entitled to free school meals, you will receive payment of £19.50 per child per week during the following:

School holidays
If you child is instructed by Welsh Government to stay at home for periods other than school holidays
If your child is instructed to self-isolate for 10 days because of a positive case of COVID-19 at their school

You need to apply online to receive this payment. If you have already applied for and received free school meals payments, you do NOT need to apply again.

Apply online

Yes, however, social distancing is encouraged. The majority of school crossing sites have social distancing markings in place to help remind you of the rules.

Please follow the instructions from the school crossing patrol and wait on the kerbside until instructed to cross. Ensure that you cross the road in a straight line maintaining a safe distance from the patrol.

Please hold the hands of smaller children.

If your children cannot safely walk, cycle or scoot to school and you must bring the car, please park away from the school and walk the last five / 10 minutes of the journey.

It is more important than ever to keep the yellow zig zags (Keep Clear markings) free of vehicles to help keep the area safer for parents and children to cross.

Motorists are also being asked to allow more distance between them and the crossing point when a school crossing patrol displays their stop sign to help with social distancing.

 

Yes, transport will be provided to pupils who have been through the application process and deemed eligible.

 

 

Yes, the council is re-introducing its ‘spare seat’ policy for learners living within the walking distance of their catchment or nearest school to be able to travel on school buses where there is spare capacity.

The cut-off for receipt of applications for the 2021/22 year has been extended to October 29 2021.

Applications will be processed in accordance with the stipulated eligibility criteria and seats will be allocated during mid-November. Those who have already applied during the course of the current year do not need to re-apply.

Please use our online form to apply, remember to choose the ‘spare seat’ option in the application form.

 

Pupils will be asked to show their travel pass at the start of each journey (or at the start of the morning journey only for primary pupils). If you do not have your travel pass you will have to give your details to the driver, in order to comply with Test Trace Protect.

We are asking parents to please remind their children to wash their hands before and after travelling.

We are also asking you to please encourage your children to keep 2 metres apart when waiting for their bus to arrive.

Secondary school pupils are required to wear face coverings on school transport.

Buses will be boarded one at a time keeping a safe distance between passengers, and the vacant seat at the rear of the bus must be used first. When disembarking, again pupils must do this one at a time keeping 2 metres apart, starting with the most forward seats first, working back in turn to the rear seats (so that pupils walking down the aisle do not pass any other seated pupils). These rules apply for both inbound and outbound journeys.

Remember pupils should NOT travel if they are feeling unwell, particularly if they have symptoms of COVID-19. If any pupils become ill while at school, their parents will be contacted to take them home.

Parents will not be permitted to board the vehicle under any circumstances and must observe the social distancing guidelines when waiting for their child to board the bus or collect their child from it.

Yes, however we would encourage you not to share lifts with any other pupils that are not from the same household.

Yes, all vehicles will be cleaned after every journey.

Some operators may provide hand sanitiser. However, we would like to remind parents of the importance of making sure the children wash their hands before / after travelling.

Timetables are available to view on our website. Once you have received your travel pass, please make sure that the stopping details shown are correct, as bus / taxi drivers will only be able to pick up and drop off pupils at the locations shown on the travel passes, and at the points shown on the timetables.

Pupils who are starting at a new school need to re-apply as a matter of urgency.

College students need to apply for transport via their college - not through the council.

Yes, it is important that families who have changed address re-apply as soon as possible.

Please email publictransport@carmarthenshire.gov.uk with pupil name, date of birth, address and full details on the error.

Please email publictransport@carmarthenshire.gov.uk with pupil name, date of birth, address and confirming your return to sixth form.

Pupils who are starting at a new school also need to re-apply as a matter of urgency.

The transport arrangements for pupils with Additional Learning Needs will be looked at individually. We have reassessed every child’s needs in respect of Covid-19 to minimise the risk of transmission to either the child or transport staff. Subject to those additional individual risk assessments , it is likely that alternative vehicle provision will be made and/or that passenger assistants (escorts) will be required to wear PPE due to the need to be in close proximity to the children to carry out their role. We have categorised children to identify those with higher needs in respect of Covid-19 and these have led to further measures that transport staff will put in place.

If parents do not intend to make use of a free school transport place for their child they should contact learnertravel@carmarthenshire.gov.uk providing the name, date of birth and child’s school.

It is not possible to practise social distancing on school transport; however, in order to maintain social distancing between the driver and the pupils, the front row of seats nearest the driver will not be occupied.

As most vehicles will be full and learners cannot sit together in their year groups, we wish to emphasise the importance of good hygiene. Not only will this help to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 but also common colds and flu, which will also be of benefit.

Pupils will be required to fill the rear most seats first on the vehicle for each journey and use the same seat on the return journey home.

All secondary school pupils are required to wear face coverings on school transport, unless they have a medical exemption. Coverings are required for the whole of their journey to and from school.

The council will provide a reusable face covering for those pupils who do not have suitable provision.

Failure to wear a face covering will result in transport being withdrawn.

Please remember the most effective way to protect your child and others from infection is to follow social distancing rules, avoid touching surfaces and face, and wash your hands regularly. The wearing of face coverings must not be used as an alternative to any of these other precautions.

Pupils must not touch the front of their face covering during use or when removing them. They must wash their hands immediately on arrival at school or home, dispose of temporary face coverings in a covered bin or place reusable face coverings in a plastic bag for washing.

We are encouraging the use of reusable face coverings where possible, rather than single use face coverings, as not only is this better for the environment but it will cost less too.

Please see Welsh Government guidance on how to make a 3 layer face covering.

We are asking parents to provide face coverings for their children where possible and to ensure they have it on when they get on school transport, and that they have washed or sanitised their hands. The council will provide a reusable face covering for those pupils who do not have suitable provision.

Please see Welsh Government guidance on how to make a 3 layer face covering.

We ask parents to make sure their child has their face covering on when they board the vehicle, and that they have washed or sanitised their hands. If a pupil turns up without a face covering, they will be permitted to travel to school but will be asked for their full details by the driver who will inform the school. The school will provide the pupil with a face covering for the return journey. However, should the pupil forget their face covering a second time, they will be refused travel.

Refusal to comply with this requirement will result in your child’s place on school transport being suspended. Your support in reinforcing this message with your child would be greatly appreciated.

No, younger children may wear face coverings, however it is not a requirement. 

All college students travelling by bus to Coleg Sir Gâr and Pembrokeshire College are required to wear face coverings on transport unless they have a medical exemption. Coverings are required for the whole of their journey to and from college. If you need any further information, please contact your college directly.

 

All parents should have been provided with an activation letter / code for their new school and guidance on how to update their account. If you have not received it, please email us direct at schoolmeals@carmarthenshire.gov.uk including your child’s name, school and year / class.

Please email us at schoolmeals@carmarthenshire.gov.uk and include your child’s name, school and year / class and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Please email us at schoolmeals@carmarthenshire.gov.uk and include your child’s name, school and year / class and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

If you require a refund please email us at schoolmeals@carmarthenshire.gov.uk and include your child’s name, school, and year/class. We can also arrange a transfer of the balance to another child.

If you are unable to pay online, you can have a PayPoint card so that you can pay by cash at local convenience stores. To request a PayPoint card please email schoolmeals@carmarthenshire.gov.uk and include your child’s name, school, and year/class.

No, you only need to apply online once but you must keep us updated of any changes by calling us on 01267 246521 or e-mail FreeSchoolMeals@carmarthenshire.gov.uk.

When you apply online we are able to check your entitlement using the Eligibility Checking Service provided by the Department of Education.  You will be advised whether or not your claim is successful.  You will only be asked to provide documentary evidence if you eligibility cannot be confirmed.

You need to apply to Carmarthenshire County Council for your child’s /children’s free school meals.

Unfortunately we are unable to backdate entitlement to free school meals to cover unpaid school dinner money, or to refund dinner money paid prior to the date of a successful application.

No re-imbursement is given for school meals money unless there are “exceptional circumstances” – you will need to email / or send a letter to the free school meals office explaining the “exceptional circumstances”.

Local authorities do no set the qualifying criteria for free school meals and we are unable to waive them.  Any change to the criteria is a matter for central, not local government, so your Member of Parliament is the appropriate person to contact about this issue.

For every child that is entitled to free school meals the school receives extra funding from the Welsh Government to enhance provision and improve progress and outcomes for children.  This is called the Pupil Premium Grant.  Your child can still bring a packed lunch if they prefer but by applying you ensure their school receives this grant.

We will notify the schools therefore you do no need to do anything.  Secondary Schools have a cashless catering system so the money will be credited to your child/children’s account each morning, any remaining monies are cleared at the end of the day. (Ysgol Dyffryn Taf is not run by the CCC Catering Service so they have their own arrangements in place).

Contact the school office or contact the free school meals office to inform the school on your behalf by calling us on 01267 246521 or e-mail FreeSchoolMeals@carmarthenshire.gov.uk.

Unfortunately there is no free school meals eligibility if either partner is entitled to Working Tax Credit.

Where a parent/carer is entitled to Working Tax Credit during a 4-week “run on” period immediately after their employment ends or they qualify for Working Tax Credit, then they are eligible to claim free school meals for that 4-week period.

Unfortunately as we are unable to confirm eligibility using the Eligibility Checking Service you will need to submit a hard copy of your Tax Credit Decision Notice.

Once the 4-week temporary entitlement period has expired we will require proof that one of the other qualifying benefits listed on the webpage has been awarded.

As the child’s / children’s carer you are eligible to claim free school meals for them if you are in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits.  Either parent is also eligible to claim for free school meals for the child/children who are living with you providing they claim a qualifying benefit.

If it is permanent and you will be getting Child Benefit etc., you can apply in your own right.  If it is temporary, the claim can stay as it is but it must be noted by the free school meals office so you will need to contact us by calling us on 01267 246521 or e-mail FreeSchoolMeals@carmarthenshire.gov.uk.

We cancel free school meals on the following Friday from when work started, as Tax Credits will be backdated to the day you started work.

Students are in most cases eligible as they are receiving Child Tax Credit Only, but you will need to apply as normal.

If they’re over 16, they are not eligible and will need to apply for an “Educational Maintenance Allowance” instead.  If they’re under 16, you need to contact the free school meals office for further details by calling us on 01267 246521 or e-mail FreeSchoolMeals@carmarthenshire.gov.uk.

Foster Carers are unable to claim for free school meals if they are in receipt of the full fostering Allowance.

Special Guardianship Orders are eligible but you need to apply in your own right. If you receive a Kinship payment you are not eligible.

A parent may not yet have benefits in their name, or proof etc. due to an emergency situation.  Women’s Aid will need to confirm the circumstances in writing by email and then the free school meal provision can be granted provisionally until eligibility can be confirmed.  However you will still need to apply.

Applications are normally processed within 5 working days.  If an email address was supplied, a response would have been emailed (which may have gone in your “spam” folder), you will need to check with the free school meals office for the reason why you have not heard anything by calling us on 01267 246521 or e-mail FreeSchoolMeals@carmarthenshire.gov.uk.

We can e-mail a copy of your free school meals confirmation letter to you as proof by calling us on 01267 246521 or e-mail FreeSchoolMeals@carmarthenshire.gov.uk.

We can make a note of the transfer but you could advise us during the summer school holidays to ensure our records are updated correctly by calling us on 01267 246521 or e-mail FreeSchoolMeals@carmarthenshire.gov.uk.

The upper annual income threshold of £16,190 applies to families who receive Child Tax Credit but have no entitlement to Working Tax Credit.

Load More

Education & Schools