Swansea Council is working with schools to prepare for a safe return of more pupils to class.
The return of the city’s youngest pupils has gone well with all children in the Foundation Phase (3 to 7-year-olds) now back in school.
The Welsh Government has said it expects all primary pupils to return on March 15 along with some comprehensive school students.
Swansea Council’s Director of Education, Helen Morgan-Rees, has written to parents and carers outlining plans that have been agreed with headteachers.
Each school will contact families directly to let them know the arrangements that apply to them.
Mrs Morgan Rees said: “It is clear that we are now in a better position where schools in Swansea are concerned. We can use a flexible approach to welcome more pupils back and aim towards a full return to schools after the Easter holidays.
“Welsh Government has encouraged a cautious and flexible return. Our aim is to bring back priority year groups first as well as give an opportunity for years 7-9 to have a check-in for wellbeing in readiness to return after Easter. We hope to see all year groups return by mid-April.”
The plan for a return to school in Swansea is:
- All primary school pupils will return on Monday March 15.
- Years 11 and 13 in comprehensive school return on March 15.
- Years 10 and 12 in comprehensive school return on March 18.
- Years 7, 8 and 9 in comprehensive school will be offered an opportunity to attend for one day between March 15 and March 26.
- All secondary pupils will return to school after Easter on Tuesday April 13.
Primary schools will be serving school lunches but comprehensive pupils will need to take a packed lunch with them until after the Easter break.
Free school meal payments or food parcels will be provided to all eligible families during the Easter holidays and for all school holidays for the next year.
The Welsh Government have announced the offer of regular asymptomatic lateral flow tests for all learners in years 10-13 and further education. The home testing kits will allow students to test themselves twice a week. Learners will be able to collect their test kits from their school and will test themselves at home.
Mrs Morgan Rees added: “These tests will be part of a range of measures in place to help manage the transmission of the virus. The responsibility for managing the taking and reporting of the tests is with parents or carers and young people. If you chose to undertake the tests then it is really important that any positive results are reported and self-isolation requirements are met. I also hope they will provide some added reassurance that any positive cases will be identified early.”
More information on the specific detail of the processes are currently being finalised by Welsh Government and will be shared by schools as soon as possible.
Pupils in secondary schools will be required to wear a mask in school if they are unable to keep the required distance from others.
Masks must be three-layered and pupils will be provided with three good quality masks that can be washed up to 50 times.
School transport will be in place from March 15 but if a child is not taking their usual place their parents are asked to let the school know.
Mrs Morgan-Rees added: “It is vital that our children and parents continue to adhere to all social distancing rules under our tier of restrictions to enable further relaxing of rules.
“This means that learners should not mix outside of school just because they are doing so inside of school, as strict rules will be followed within the school grounds.
“Washing of hands and social distancing is still our best way to prevent the spread of Covid.”
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