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COVID-19 FAQ - Updated
by School Admin - Friday, 26 June 2020, 12:36 PM

What will happen to hub provision for children of critical workers? - Updated

From 29 June the school-age children of critical workers and vulnerable children should be returning to their own schools, with local authorities moving away from the hub model they have in place at the moment. The broad expectation is that the learners’ own school will make additional hub provision available for children who continue to need it, alongside the learning that they are entitled to for the remainder of the summer term. Decisions on how that will be managed in practice will be taken locally, based on the capacity within individual schools and the operating models local authorities and schools have in place. Schools will communicate arrangements with parents/carers.

Schools should work closely with parents/carers and local authorities to understand what is needed. Children of teaching staff may need to be accommodated at their own school or setting in order to allow staff to attend. Local authorities will work closely with schools and settings operating as hubs to manage this transition.

Will children accessing hub provision be able to interact with their classmates who are returning to school? - Updated

Limiting social contacts is an important part of reducing the likelihood of seeing large outbreaks of the virus. It is important that we continue to reduce mixing between people and groups of people. Keeping people in small, consistent groups of adults and children which remain the same throughout the week, and separate from other groups, helps to do this and avoids creating chains of transmission. In returning to school, children should attend just one setting wherever possible, and should remain in the same small, consistent group within that setting, as far as possible. This will help reduce the likelihood of the virus moving between groups within that one setting, or moving between groups in different settings.

We have provided guidance to schools on how staff and learners should interact with each other to reduce the risk of transmission in the Operational Guidance . This includes guidance on measures schools can take to minimise the risk of transmission between groups and limit the impact of any self-isolation required due to a staff member or a learner testing positive under Test, Trace, Protect . If a child attends more than one setting, for example school and wrap-around or out of school childcare, the child should remain in the same, small group across both settings wherever possible. Mixing children from different groups, or different schools, is not consistent with the need to minimise overall levels of contact. Parents and settings will need to discuss these risks and consider how to manage them to reduce the spread of the virus. This will mean parents, schools and settings working together and in line with the guidance provided.

It is understandable that staff, learners and parents/carers may feel apprehensive about the risks of interaction, but it is important to remember that schools will be safe through adherence to guidelines on social distancing, hygiene and self-isolation of those showing symptoms, or living with someone showing symptoms.

Will pupils eligible for free school meals receive lunch in school from 29 June?

We appreciate how important free school meals are for the children and young people who receive them and we have worked closely with schools and local authorities across Wales to make sure eligible pupils have continued access to free school meals throughout the pandemic. Pupils eligible for free school meals will continue to have these provided throughout the remainder of the summer term and through the summer holidays.

From 29 June schools will be making decisions on lunch arrangements depending on the timetable that they develop to meet their individual setting’s needs. In some cases schools and settings may judge that lunch does not need to be provided or that learners should bring their own lunches to minimise the risk of transmission. In these cases there will be alternative arrangements for pupils who would be eligible for a free school meal. Your school and local authority will be able to provide you with details on what they are doing locally to support families in receipt of free school meals during the transition to increasing operations and throughout the summer holidays.

What are the term dates for summer and autumn half-term?

For schools opening for three weeks the last day of term for learners will be 17 July and the autumn half-term break will be one week as scheduled. For schools opening for the additional fourth week the last day of term will be 24 July and they have a two week Autumn half term.

Will schools still hold INSET days?

There is no expectation that school hold INSET days in the period of increasing operations from 29 June.

There are 6 INSET days for the 2020/21 academic year. The 5 traditional days and a 6th National Professional Learning INSET day which should be held during the summer term 2021.

How will you ensure the health and safety of staff working in schools?

The health and wellbeing of our learners and our education workforce is at the forefront of any planned increase in operation for our schools. To this end, working with the WLGA and Unions representing school support staff we have provided additional reassurances around risk assessments; ?the increased demand for cleaning staff?; the antibody testing and Test, Trace, Protect programme in a joint statement.

Thank you

Steve Davies

Director of Education / Cyfarwyddwr Addysg
Education and Public Service Group: Y Grwp Addysg A Gwasanaethau Cyhoeddus
Welsh Government Llywodraeth Cymru