UPDATE FROM DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION : SEPTEMBER 2020
Dear Parent/ Carer,
As you will be aware, the Minister for Education has announced that all children and young people in Wales can return to full time school in September. This decision has been based on scientific and technical advice which recommends that schools plan to open in September for all pupils, subject to a continuing, steady decline in the presence of COVID-19 in the community.
In addition, the NHS Test and Trace system is in place, delivering an approach to tackling coronavirus by testing people with symptoms in the community, tracing those who have come into close contact with people who have tested positive for coronavirus, and protecting family, friends and the community by self-isolating.
Start of term
The Autumn Term begins on Tuesday 1 September. The Minster’s announcement recognises that a phased approach to all schools returning will be required over the first two weeks of term, with all pupils expected to be back in schools together from 14 September. Schools in Cardiff will begin the year with one or two planning days in September, as they usually do, with pupils returning on a phased basis in the first and second week of term. Your child’s school will notify you of their local arrangements.
Schools operating safely
Welsh Government have issued guidance for the safe operational management of the return of all pupilsExternal link opens in a new window External link opens in a new window and guidance for the approach to learningExternal link opens in a new window External link opens in a new window. For younger learners the emphasis will be on separating groups with pupils staying within distinct contact groups. They may have staggered break times and their own area for learning and periods of play. This will make it quicker and easier, in the event of a positive case, to identify those who may need to self-isolate and to keep that number as low as possible. For older learners there will be a greater emphasis on physical distancing, with learners necessarily being in larger contact groups than is the case in primary schools.
The health and safety of pupils is priority and Cardiff Council will be working closely with schools to maintain appropriate measures so that they can welcome all children and young people, and their staff, back safely.
Families are reminded that under no circumstances should learners attend 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 7 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 children eligible for free school meals, the e-voucher and parent pay systems will continue to be in place until further notice. For the first weeks of term there will be no Council catering provision in schools and pupils will need to bring packed lunches. This will enable schools to focus on the safe management of pupil interaction within groups at the start of term until the new patterns of school life have been established. You will be notified as to when catering in schools will re-commence.
Getting to school
Active Transport is considered the safest and healthiest way to get to school and pupils will be encouraged to walk, scoot or cycle where possible. Changes to road layout around schools will be maintained to support safe access. For those pupils who use school transport and cannot get to school without it the wearing of masks whilst using transport will be required for all pupils above the age of 7years. Detailed arrangements for school transport will be communicated to you via your school for the start of term.
As more information and guidance becomes available, we will issue updated Frequently Asked Questions which pupils, parents and carers may be asking in the lead up to September.