Posted: 22.02.21 at 14:48 by The Editor
Education Minister Kirsty Williams has said that all primary school children in Conwy will start to return to classrooms on 15 March, but only if conditions continue to improve.
Ms Williams said she would also like to see Year 11 and 13 pupils and those “doing similar qualifications in colleges” back for face-to-face learning in “a safe and flexible way”.
Dr Chris Jones, Wales’ deputy chief medical officer, said that case numbers, levels of community transmission and test positivity rates are decreasing.
"We are seeing a steady and consistent fall in the weekly number of new cases of coronavirus in Wales,” said Dr Jones.
"We’ve fallen back from the peak of over 600 cases per 100,000 people back in December to around 80 cases today.
"This is significantly lower than at previous points when schools and colleges were fully open."
If all these factors continue to improve, the Education Minister confirmed that from 15 March all primary school children will start to return to schools.
"Where possible, we also want to give some flexibility around other learners, such as Year 12 and those in Year 10 who may also have been entered for qualifications this summer,” said Ms Williams.
"Unfortunately, for those learners in secondary settings or colleges this won’t necessarily be a return to full time on-site learning."
The Education Minister said she hopes to have all other pupils back after the Easter holidays, but did not specify a date.
Testing will also take place twice a week of education staff and of older learners in years 11 to 13 and those in FE settings.
The testing will be done through lateral flow devices, so they can be done from learners’ homes, which will assist with the planned return.
"We will confirm the situation for other learners before the Easter holidays, but I can tell you that it is my preference to get all learners back in school after that break. I promise to provide further details on how this will look when I can do so,” said Ms Williams.
"I want to thank you all again for everything you’ve done to help keep Wales Safe, and to keep Wales learning and for creating the headroom we need to get more children and young people back in the classroom."
The Easter break finishes on 12 April and pupils aged 3-7 years old returned today. Boris Johnson is expected to announce later today that all schools in England will return on 8 March.