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Parents to be kept informed during countdown to schools opening

Swansea Council has written to all parents to reassure them that they will be kept up-to-date as plans are developed for the safe re-opening of schools.

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The council was already working with schools and other partners ahead of Wednesday's announcement by the Welsh Government that some pupils will start returning from June 29.

Guidance from the Welsh Government on managing facilities and logistical arrangements including transport are expected later next week.

The council will be creating a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) which will be live on its website from Monday along with a dedicated email and telephone enquiry line which will also go live on Monday.

At this stage there will be questions that cannot be answered but the council will regularly update the FAQs and schools will be contacting parents directly when arrangements are in place.

The key points the Welsh Government has announced so far are:

  • All schools are to re-open from June 29 for a trial and transition period.
  • Pupils will need to be brought into schools in very small groups due to social distancing and it is anticipate that no school would have any more than a third of pupils in school at any one time.
  • The plan is to extend the remaining term by one week that means schools will be open for 4 weeks before the summer break starting on July 27. 
  • All schools are being asked to make available a check in and catch-up session for every child to attend over the 4 week period.
  • Attendance will be voluntary and there will not be any fines should pupils not attend.
  • From June 29 the children of key or front line workers will receive childcare at their normal school.
  •  Pupils who are in receipt of a shielding letter due to their medical vulnerability or who live in a household with someone who is in receipt of a shielding letter should not return to school.

In the letter, Swansea Council's Director of Education Nick Williams, said: "We know you will feel uncertain and have many questions about your child's individual circumstances. We want to help deal with those questions and address your concerns. The safety of children and staff is our priority.

"School leadership teams will be carrying out risk assessments to help them identify the approach that is right in your child's school.

"As a council, we acknowledge that not all schools will be able to meet the Welsh Government's ambitions immediately.

"Capacity in schools will vary and many schools will need to introduce a phased re-integration. This might affect the year groups that can attend and the days available.

"Schools will work very differently, at least for the rest of this summer term. Class sizes will be small and schools will implement social distancing.

"This means lessons may run differently, break times and lunch times may be staggered, school start and finish times may be different.

"We will be working closely with schools and governors to try to ensure consistency in terms of principles and approach."

The FAQs will be available at https://www.swansea.gov.uk/covid19schoolsandcolleges.

Please take a look at these first.

If they do not address your questions, you can email coronavirusenquiries@swansea.gov.uk

The dedicated telephone enquiry line will be available from 9am on Monday June 8 on 01792 636033 and 01792 636034.

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