Not all pupils will return to school on Monday for the first day of the summer term in Wales.
All pupils can return full time, for face to face teaching for the first time since before Christmas from April 12 under lockdown easing announced by the Welsh Government before the end of the Easter term. But not all will be, councils confirmed.
Some schools are staggering return dates, others are using April 12 as an inset day for staff and a number of pupils are self isolating after a small number of new Covid cases were confirmed in the last week of the holidays.
Covid cases related to schools are still tracked and reported through holidays.
The highest number of confirmed Covid cases among pupils and staff in the six days to April 8 were in Cardiff with 22, according to Public Health Wales.
The youngest primary pupils returned first to face to face teaching on February 22
(Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)
Swansea council said it “expected” pupils to be back on Monday but was allowing schools to decide. Twelve cases of Covid have been confirmed among staff and pupils in the city in the six days to April 8, according to PHW figures.
A Swansea council spokesman said:“Schools and settings best understand the needs of their learners and those of the communities they serve and will know from first-hand experience that some learners may need longer to settle back into school than others.
“To help manage this, some schools and settings may wish to use the first day of term to stagger the return of learners back into the classroom. However, we would expect that all learners should return to their schools and settings on the first day of term if at all possible.”
Swansea council’s Director of Education, Helen Morgan-Rees, said: “The council has been working with schools to prepare for a safe return of all pupils to class next week in line with Welsh Government guidance.
“Each school will have contacted families directly to let them know the arrangements that apply to them.
“Every school has been risk-assessed to ensure they are as safe as they possibly can be and a range of measures are in place including increased cleaning, ventilation and social distancing.
“All pupils in secondary schools will be required to wear a mask in school if they are unable to keep the required distance from others and masks must be three-layered. Pupils have been provided with three good quality masks that can be washed up to 50 times.”
Wrexham council confirmed some of its pupils will be self isolating, and won’t be able to return to face to face learning for the start of term, but did not give details. Public Health Wales data shows five cases of coronavirus confirmed among pupils and staff in Wrexham in the week to April 8.
Wrexham council said in a statement: “It is reasonable to expect that there will be a small number of staff and pupils who will be self-isolating and will not return to school on Monday.
“However, all schools will re-open in line with national guidance and we encourage all parents, pupils and carers to stick to the guidelines in order to minimise any further disruption to education during the summer term.”
Pembrokeshire council said pupils there will return on Tuesday with Monday being used as an Inset day for planning.
“Schools are looking forward to all learners returning. We are confident that schools, through their risk assessments, are taking every precaution to mitigate the risks related to Covid-19,” a spokesman added.
Less than five Covid cases have been confirmed at Ysgol Dyffryn in Conwy and Ysgol Maes Owen Primary in Rhyl,as of April 8, but no pupils are self isolating as a result, Conwy council said.
Carmarthenshire council said just two pupils – one secondary and one primary – and one member of staff have had to self isolate since April 1.
Newport Council said all its schools will re-open to all pupils, as planned on Monday except years three, four and five at St Andrew’s Primary, because of ongoing building maintenance unrelated to Covid.
Year six pupils have already been moved to Lliswerry High, while years three to five will be using the Newport Live Connect Centre temporarily from April 19, the council said.
Blaenau Gwent council said all its schools will re-open as planned on Monday and no pupils were self isolating as of April 9.
All secondary pupils will be asked to wear masks anywhere in school that they cannot socially distance. Those aged 14 and over will also be asked to take twice weekly rapid result Covid tests when they return.
(Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)
Latest statistics from Public Health Wales released on April 8 show Covid cases among pupils and staff fell during the second week of the holidays, which was expected.
In the six days to April 8, the last week of the two week Easter break,a total of 63 coronavirus cases were reported in schools, but it was not confirmed how many were pupils or staff. Confirmed cases are still tracked and reported in the school holidays.
Forty of the 63 cases were in primary schools, 20 secondaries and three in “other” which includes special schools and pupil referral units.
In the week before that, the first week of the holidays, a total 193 cases were confirmed. Of those 132 were in primaries, 58 secondary and three in “other”.
This compares with the last week of term when 253 coronavirus cases were reported – 173 in primaries, 130 in secondaries and 34 in “other”.
The youngest primary pupils aged three to seven returned to classrooms on February 22 while exam years returned on March 15 as well as some other years for catch up sessions.
Numbers of pupils and staff testing positive for Covid in six days to April 8 by area
(Image: Getty Images)
Aneurin Bevan University Health Board
Blaenau Gwent 0
Betsi CadwaladrUniversity Health Board
Cardiff and ValeUniversity Health Board
Vale of Glamorgan 1
Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board
Merthyr Tydfil 1
Rhondda Cynon Taf 5
Hywel DdaUniversity Health Board
Powys Teaching Health Board
Swansea BayUniversity Health Board
Neath Port Talbot 4
Cases linked to schools don’t mean Covid transmission took place there
Releasing the data Public Health Wales stressed cases reported by schools did not mean infection took place there.
“Location of employment is used to identify school associated cases in this analysis, so there may be instances particularly outside of term time where cases are listed as being employed or enrolled at a school but they may not have attended the school during their infectious period. Therefore, recent trends should be interpreted with caution.”
It said the figures are also subject to changes as data quality and methods improve.
“The presence of cases linked to a school or educational institution does not necessarily imply that transmission occurred in that setting. Local intelligence is required to determine whether transmission is likely to have occurred within such institutions.”