Re-opening schools

Page updated on: 26/06/2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Schools will re-open from June 29 until July 17 for pupils to check in, catch up and prepare for the summer and September. Further information for parents can be found on our Newsroom.

Please continue to visit our Newsroom for the latest information. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Our key priority has always been the safety of children, their families and school staff and this will continue to be our main consideration as we begin to enter the recovery period and prepare to re-open our schools.

There will be a phased approach at schools with year groups split into cohorts with staggered starts, lessons and breaks. It is expected that this will mean, at most, a third of pupils present at any one time. There will be much smaller classes, providing secure dedicated time with teachers and classmates.

Please be assured that we have been working hard to put plans in place for re-opening our schools . Thank you for your continued support and co-operation.

Please visit this page for all information, it is being continually updated. The following FAQs should answer any queries that you may have about schools re-opening. Get in touch via the "Ask a question" tab if there is anything you need additional information about.

Safety / Social distancing

No, if you have children that are shielding, or are living with someone who is in this group, then they should not come back to school this term and should continue learning at home. Your school will continue to support you with this.

This is your decision to make, please discuss it with your school. If you are in doubt on whether your child’s health condition means they should be shielding, please seek advice from your GP.

Under no circumstances should you send your child to school if they:

  • feel unwell, have any of the three identified COVID-19 symptoms (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or loss of taste or smell) or they have tested positive to COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
  • live in a household with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive to COVID-19 in the past 14 days.

For information on how to apply for a test for yourself or someone in your household with symptoms including children under 5s please visit the Public Health Wales website.

Risk assessments are being carried out at all of our schools ahead of re-opening so that a comprehensive programme of measures to limit the risk to staff and children can be put in place. These include:

  • Separate entrances and exits
  • Clear signage around the school on the importance of handwashing, hygiene and maintaining social distancing
  • One-way systems in schools with clear floor markings to encourage social distancing
  • Perspex screens at reception areas
  • Smaller class sizes
  • New classroom layouts – desks will be arranged two metres apart
  • Limit mixing - children will stay in their groups and be assigned specific staff members
  • Staggered timetables - limiting the number of children on lunch and breaks, changes to drop off and pick up times
  • Parents / pupils will have to complete a health questionnaire before they are permitted to enter the school building
  • Cleaning hands more often than usual – additional hand washing stations will be available in both primary and secondary schools and there will be hand sanitisers in every classroom. Children will be encouraged to wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with running water and soap and dry them properly or use alcohol hand sanitiser ensuring that all parts of the hands are covered.
  • Ensuring good respiratory hygiene - promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach
  • Limit numbers using toilets
  • Increased cleaning - frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned regularly during the school day and a full clean will take place every evening
  • Each school will have its own designated isolation room should a child or staff member start to feel ill during the day.

Further operational guidance for schools can be found on the Welsh Government website.

Signage and floor markings will be in place throughout the schools and children will also be reminded by staff if needed. We are developing some fun resources for use in primary schools, including life-size posters encouraging young children to remain ‘one cow apart’ and ‘social distance hero’ stickers and high-vis jackets. We will also have a song and book to help deliver key messages around social distancing and handwashing in a more light-hearted way.

Poor behaviour from older pupils who wilfully ignore the social distancing rules will not be tolerated, and parents may be asked to collect them from school to carry on with their learning at home. We would appreciate parents support in helping to emphasise the importance of adhering to these new rules to their children before they return to school.

We are increasing the cleaning arrangements at all of our schools. Cleaners will be on site, all day cleaning high touch surface areas. A full clean will then be carried out every evening.

No, the current advice is that these are not required in schools.

Welsh Government has advised that it is not necessary to check pupils’ temperatures. It is not seen as a reliable indicator of being symptomatic, as many children will not have symptoms but could still be positive. High temperatures are also a common symptom of a large number of childhood conditions so there could be a large number of false positives. Our daily health assessments for pupils should pick up any children who should be isolating rather than being in school.

Physical distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene (catching a cough or sneeze in a tissue or covering the mouth and nose with an elbow or sleeve) are the most effective ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

There is therefore no need to use personal protective equipment (PPE) when undertaking routine educational activities at school. PPE will be available to school staff in the event of a child with suspected coronavirus or for personal, hands-on care such as such first aid.

Strict procedures are in place for this and the child will be kept in a separate room until they can be collected and taken home. The room and any surfaces they have come into contact with will be thoroughly cleaned.

Similarly, if a member of staff develops symptoms, they will leave the premises immediately and a thorough clean of their classroom and any surfaces they have come into contact with will be carried out.

Most of our school crossing patrols will return on June 29, however, it is important to follow social distancing at all times. 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.

Where there are reports of the 2-metre social distancing being breached, it may be necessary to remove the provision from the school.

Unfortunately, we have been unable to ensure a social distance of 2 metres for a small number of our patrols to safely return. Some schools may also introduce different opening and closing times, particularly around lunch times, and staggered starts and finishes, that we may not be able to fully cover with crossing patrols. Those affected schools have been asked to inform parents / carers.

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, so that they can ensure a 2-metre distance from pedestrians crossing the road.

 

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

We are also asking you to please remind your children that they will need to keep 2 metres apart when waiting for their bus to arrive.

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, or they live in a household with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive to COVID-19 in the past 14 days. If any pupils become ill while at school, their parents will be contacted to take them home.

According to evidence, the most effective way to protect yourself and others from infection is to follow social distancing rules, avoid touching surfaces and your face, and wash your hands regularly. Buses will be operating with limited capacity to ensure that social distancing is followed. Therefore, it is not compulsory, and it is a matter of personal choice as to whether your child wears a face mask or not.

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.

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Education & Schools