More than 4,300 staff working in schools across Wales have tested positive for coronavirus since the academic year began in September 2020.

As more pupils return to classrooms on March 15, latest figures show the number of coronavirus cases in schools has risen slightly in the three weeks since the youngest pupils returned.

In the six days to March 11, cases reported rose from 71 to 120.

Between schools returning from the first lockdown in September and March 10 there have been a total 9,634 reports of new Covid-19 cases across 1,244 schools in Wales; 4,323 cases in staff and 5,311 in pupils, Public Health Wales data shows.

From a total of 1,573 schools this means 79.1 % of schools have had a Covid-19 case. Of those, 228 schools have had only one case.

Releasing the latest schools and college data PHW stressed that cases linked to a school or any educational institution does not necessarily imply that transmission occurred in that setting.

With that caveat in place latest PHW figures reveal that in the six days to Thursday, March 11, a total 120 cases of coronavirus among staff and pupils were reported.

In the week before that there were 71 cases and two weeks before 84 cases.

Releasing the figures PHW cautioned that location of employment is used to identify school associated cases “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”.

It said therefore “recent trends should be interpreted with caution” and the data is subject to change.

Older pupils will be asked to wear masks in classooms and take coronavirus tests twice a week when they return to school on March 15. Secondary pupils were already asked to wear masks in all communal areas. Pictured: A pupil at Mary Immaculate RC High, Wenvoe, at the start of the school year in September
(Image: WalesOnline/ Rob browne)

Schools were shut to all be vulnerable and key workers’ children before this term began. Primaries re-opened to children aged three to seven from February 22 and older children can return from March 15.

Of the 120 cases reported by schools in the six days to March 11 a total of 73 were in primaries, 18 in secondaries and 29 in “other”, which includes pupil referral units, independent and special schools. The weekly data does not break down staff or pupil cases.

The rolling three day average of new Covid-19 cases in schools (both pupils and staff), for each health board on March 10

Aneurin Bevan: 1.67 cases

Betsi Cadwaladr: 3.33 cases

Cardiff and Vale: 1.67 cases

Cwm Taf: 3.33 cases

Hywel Dda: no cases

Powys: no cases

Swansea: 1.67 cases

Pupils happy to be back at Roath Park Primary in Cardiff
(Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)

Cases by health board and county in the six days to March 11

Aneurin Bevan UHB

Blaenau Gwent 0 (-2)

Caerphilly 9 (+6)

Monmouthshire 0 (-1)

Newport 1 (-3)

Torfaen 3 (-1)

Betsi Cadwaladr UHB

Anglesey 6 (+5)

Conwy 25 (+17)

Denbighshire 6 (+2)

Flintshire 9 (+7)

Gwynedd 9 (+8)

Wrexham 1 (-2)

Cardiff and Vale UHB

Cardiff 13 (+4)

Vale Glamorgan 1 (-1)

Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB

Bridgend 4 (-3)

Merthyr Tydfil 13 (+7)

Rhondda Cynon Taf 4 (-8)

Hywel Dda UHB

Carmarthenshire 2 (+1)

Ceredigion 0 (equal)

Pembrokeshire 0 (equal)

Powys Teaching HB

Powys 2 (+2)

Swansea Bay UHB

Neath Port Talbot 6 (+3)

Swansea 3 (+3)

A further three cases were added to this total of 117 after the table was published, said PHW.

Number of Covid cases among school staff by Health Board since September 1, 2020

(Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)

Between September 1 2020 and March 10 2021 the following cases were reported among staff in maintained secondaries, primaries and middle schools as well as “other”, which includes special schools, pupil referral units and maintained nurseries:

Aneurin Bevan UHB

Primary 542

Secondary 216

Other 78

Total: 836

Betsi Cadwaladr

Primary 395

Secondary 138

Other 85

Total: 618

Cardiff and Vale

Primary 398

Secondary 237

Other 153

Total: 788

Cwm Taf Morgannwg

Primary 700

Secondary 241

Other 217

Total: 1,158

Hywel Dda

Primary 162

Secondary 87

Other 29


Powys Teaching

Primary 46

Secondary 22

Other 22

Total: 90

Swansea Bay UHB

Primary 359

Secondary 128

Other 68

Total: 55

Wales Total: 4,323

FE college cases

Two coronavirus cases have been reported by FE colleges in the six days to March 11, one in Bridgend and one in Pembrokeshire.

Colleges have also been shut to most learners since this term began, but some students on vocational courses could begin to return from February 22.

Between September 1 2020 and March 10 2021, there were 1,152 reports of new Covid-19 cases across 13 colleges and 48 campuses among students and staff.

In the last three weeks no cases have been reported by any FE colleges in the following areas:


Vale of Glamorgan

Rhondda Cynon Taf

Blaenau Gwent




Isle of Anglesey








Neath Port Talbot

In the three weeks to March 11 one case was reported each by a college in Newport, Merthyr Tydfil and Neath Port Talbot, two in Pembrokeshire (including one in the six days to March 10) and three in Carmarthenshire.

Union’s warning on safety

Teachers’ union the NASUWT said it has raised concerns with the Welsh Government about lack of compliance by some local authorities and schools to the updated re-opening guidance. It declined to say which councils or schools were not complying.

The union said “there must be strict compliance with the operational guidance and the Welsh Government must be ensuring that compliance”.

The guidance says in addition to measures already in place staff and pupils in secondaries should socially distance from each other, even in the classroom, that masks must be worn, even in the classroom and pupils in years 10 and above should take twice weekly coronavirus tests.

NASUWT national official for Wales, Neil Butler, said: “Around a quarter of teachers in Wales are over 50 and most of those have not received their first vaccination.

“They face going back into schools to face a more contagious strain of the virus. Until the education workforce has been vaccinated we must have social distancing in classrooms where there are older learners.

“It is unacceptable that some local authorities and schools seem to be choosing to ignore the social distancing advice in the operational guidance. They are risking the spread of a virus at a time when the education workforce and learners are unprotected.”

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