Children in one part of Wales are being told not to exchange Christmas cards and presents at school in case they spread coronavirus .

Rhondda Cynon Taf council said it was basing its decision on advice from Public Health Wales but PHW said it had not specifically advised against exchanging cards and presents in schools.

Head teachers in Rhondda Cynon Taf, which has had high rates of Covid-19, have been asked by the council to tell children to send e-cards and give money to charity instead.

Rhondda Cynon Taf council said in a statement: “Based on advice from Public Health Wales we recommend that actual Christmas cards are not handed around by pupils in our schools this year in order to mitigate any Covid-19 transmission risk.

“Instead we recommend this year that pupils send virtual Christmas cards using their Hwb email accounts or they can make one in class and display it for all their friends to see.

“We also recommend that gifts are not sent into school by parents on this occasion due to the risk of transmission.

“Alternatively we recommend that individual schools consider suggesting other alternatives such as donations to a school’s chosen charity.”

But a Public Health Wales spokeswoman said: “I can confirm that Public Health Wales hasn’t issued any guidance to schools regarding the exchange of Christmas cards and presents.”

Policies differ between councils around Wales.

Pupils in Monmouthshire will be allowed to swap cards and gifts. The council said: “Monmouthshire County Council is making a number of arrangements to ensure children and staff can still enjoy the festive period.

“This year a decision has been made allow the distribution of Christmas cards if a school chooses to do so.

“It is suggested that cards are collected and stored for at least 72 hours prior to distribution.”

Torfaen council also said cards and presents can be exchanged in their schools but is also asking people to quarantine them.

A Bridgend council spokesman said: “We have previously advised schools to minimise the items that may be brought in by pupils but that advice referred to general items rather than anything specifically related to Christmas.”

A statement from Conwy council said: “Schools will be encouraged to consider Christmas activities in line with their risk assessments and review accordingly.”

A Powys council spokesman said it had not asked schools to prohibit exchanging cards and gifts.

And a statement from Pembrokeshire council said: “We have discussed this with our head teachers and they will be making decisions based on their own risk assessments. Many are sending e-cards.”

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