CORONAVIRUS (COVID 19) UPDATES
The latest advice on access to schools from Education Minister Kirsty Williams (23.03.2020)
I’d like to thank parents for listening to the advice and keeping most children at home. I’d be grateful if tomorrow morning you only use schools or childcare as a last resort.
The advice has not changed as a result of tonight’s decision to further restrict movement, which our First Minister, along with other UK leaders took with the sole aim of slowing the spread of coronavirus.
Children should be at home wherever possible, critical workers will still need to have safe care arrangements for their children. Our schools and childcare settings are providing a vital service to support critical workers and our most vulnerable children.
Those involved in the current arrangements looking after children should continue. Many thanks to our amazing teaching and childcare professionals for their commitment in this time of national need.
This situation will continue for the immediate term but we will be reviewing with healthcare professionals, local authorities and our teaching unions.
1. The latest scientific advice
The most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 is clear.
Everyone must, as far as possible, minimise social contact and make sure that anyone who is particularly vulnerable to the virus is able to adopt strict social distancing.
2. How does social distancing affect schools and childcare settings?
We have advised schools and childcare should only be open to a limited number of children.
We must keep the number of children in educational, childcare and play settings to the smallest number possible.
We also need to make sure children are not left with anyone who should be following strict social distancing guidance, such as anyone over 70 or anyone with the specified underlying health conditions.
Keeping children safely in their home should limit the chance of the virus spreading and protect those vulnerable to more serious illness as a result of the virus.
If your child receives free school meals, this will continue. But the way your child gets this food depends on your school. Please check with them.
3. What is the latest advice on key workers?
A list of categories of critical workers has been published on the Welsh Government website.
Places in schools and childcare will be highly limited and only particularly vulnerable children and the children of critical workers whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response should be attending during this time.
If you are classed as a critical worker but are able to perform the critical parts of your job effectively when working from home, then you should do so.
Even for critical workers, provision will only be made in schools or other settings where there is no safe alternative for your family.
4. I’m a key worker but my partner isn’t. What should we do?
If one parent is a critical worker but the other parent is not then the other parent should provide safe alternative arrangements at home when possible.
5. I’ve seen different advice from different councils. How are local authorities working?
Local authorities are doing everything they can to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. They made and communicated plans based as part of an initial contingency to deal with the spread of coronavirus. Those plans will now adapt and change as they respond to the latest guidance available to the Welsh Government.
Stay at home: guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection (Updated 16 March 2020)
COVID-19: guidance on social distancing and for vulnerable people