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Firebreak school arrangements highlighted for parents

Swansea Council has written to parents and carers explaining school arrangements for the next few weeks and urging them to help keep coronavirus out of the classroom.

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All schools in Swansea break up for the half-term holiday on Friday, the same day as a 17 day firebreak lockdown starts in Wales.

Primary Schools and the PRU will reopen as planned on Monday November 2.

Comprehensive schools will also reopen on that date but in line with Welsh Government rules only pupils in Years 7 and 8 should attend.

Year 9 (aged 13/14) and above will have a week of home learning and return on November 9 although pupils who have exams in this period should attend the exam.

All children in specialist teaching facilities in Swansea's secondary schools can access their facility during week commencing 2 November.

School transport will resume the week commencing November 2.

Families of pupils eligible for free school meals will receive either direct payments or food parcels during the half-term week and this will be extended to Year 9 and above for the additional week they are not in school.

In the letter Swansea's Interim Director of Education Helen Morgan Rees said: "The safe reopening of schools in Swansea has been successful during the first half-term of the school year.

"We have developed a very cautious approach in listening to the advice of NHS Test Trace Protect (TTP) here in Swansea. As a result, schools in Swansea are not the source of Covid-19 transmission and children and young people are protected when in school.

"All children and young people are following the school rules and are careful about washing hands and wearing a face mask if they need to.

"However, schools and providers of education are being disrupted when a community transmitted case comes in from the outside.

"May I urge you once again to keep a close eye on symptoms and to follow the rules, especially now that we are entering a national circuit breaker or 'firebreak'."

Mrs Morgan-Rees praised all school staff for going the extra mile to keep schools open in challenging circumstances.

She added: "I would also like to stress how important it is that all parents and carers think twice about social gatherings inside and outside their homes during the next fortnight and beyond.

"Can I also remind you that if you are dropping off or collecting children from school then you need to follow social distancing and no matter how tempting please do not congregate at the school gates.

"Children and young people have seen enough disruption to their education to last a lifetime and we must not spoil it anymore.

"Please think twice about any actions you may take, in innocence, in the face of an invisible virus.

"We do not want further disruptions or mini-lockdowns, we want to keep learning going and our communities safe.

"Please challenge any behaviour that stops us from reaching our common goal of "An excellent education for all" here in Swansea."

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