SWANSEA Council has been working with all of its schools to plan a safe and organised return of pupils next week.
Although approaches will vary among schools, all pupils will be able to resume education by September 14.
Schools will be contacting parents and carers directly to let them know the days their children should attend up until then, along with specific arrangements for their school.
Swansea Council and headteachers have agreed on key principles to ensure consistency wherever possible –
Additional cleaning hours will allow more frequent cleaning of high-frequency contact points in each school. In addition to the thorough daily clean, a “clean as you go” process will continue to be used in all schools;
All children will be encouraged to wash their hands regularly with soap and water throughout the day. Hand sanitizers will also be widely available across each school;
Secondary age pupils may be required to wear face masks in school corridors and communal areas, dependent on the individual school’s risk assessment;
Where possible, school sessions will be provided within the normal operational hours of each school;
Where possible, and based on each individual school’s risk assessment, breakfast clubs and after-school clubs can restart;
School meals will restart on 14 September. Until that time all pupils will need to take a packed lunch for the days that they attend during the first two weeks of term. The choice of BACS payment or a weekly food parcel will continue for those eligible for free school meals until canteens reopen and
Attendance at school will be compulsory from September 14 but schools and Swansea Council will work with parents and carers to try to resolve any issues and provide reassurance where necessary.
Swansea Council’s Transport Team has been working during the school summer holidays to ensure that pupils who qualify for home to school transport can access it. Pupils were advised of their entitlement to free transport before the end of the Summer Term and those that wished to take up the transport offer have had to confirm their acceptance. Bus passes are currently being prepared and they will be available for collection from schools at the start of term.
Pupils aged over 11 will need to wear face coverings on dedicated school transport services but younger pupils will not need to wear them although may do so if they wish. Pupils with medical exemptions will not need to wear them.
Pupils travelling on public transport will also be required to wear three-layer face coverings if they are aged 11 or over as they will be mixing with the wider travelling public. There will also be social distancing on public transport services.
Cllr Jennifer Raynor, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Education Improvement, Learning and Skills, said:
“The council and schools have followed all advice from the Welsh Government and Public Health Wales very closely.
“All schools have again been individually risk-assessed and the measures that are in place are designed to enable a safe and organised return to school during September.
“These past five months have been very difficult for many, including our young people. Returning after the summer break can be daunting in any year and we are very aware it will be even more so for some this September.
“School will not be as it was before the pandemic began but our aim is to ensure that teaching and learning can resume after the summer break and pupils and parents are supported.
“I would again like to thank all school staff for their efforts and wish them and all our pupils well for the new term ahead.”