Proposal for ‘phased’ school reopening after lockdown

The Welsh Government has outlined plans on how schools will start adapting to life on the other side of the coronavirus pandemic.

It is likely a phased approach will be eventually implemented to allow more pupils to return to school and Wrexham’s Assembly Member, Lesley Griffiths has welcomed the Welsh Government’s foresight.

Schools are currently only open to children of critical workers and vulnerable children, with many local authorities adopting a hub approach rather than opening all schools in their area.

School provision will gradually adapt and extend further during the next phase, in line with changes to the current restrictions outlined by the First Minister last week. The First Minister published a framework with seven key questions to help lead Wales out of the coronavirus pandemic.

Lesley Griffiths AM said: “This has been an demanding time for all of us but special praise must be reserved for the teachers, support staff and childcare workers that have stepped up to the mark during this pandemic.”

“While there are small signs of progress in the battle against COVID-19, there is still a long way to go and we must remain vigilant.”

“Planning the recovery stage will be extremely challenging and important decisions will have to be made.  Its highly likely schools will not immediately return to operating at full capacity and a phased approach will in introduced.”

“Parents, staff and students in Wrexham must have confidence in returning to schools and it can only start to happen when the advice and evidence demonstrates that it is safe to do so.”

The Welsh Government has now set out five guiding principles which will determine when and how schools will return to providing education for most pupils:

  1. The safety and mental, emotional and physical wellbeing of students and staff
  2. Continuing contribution to the national effort and strategy to fight the spread of Covid-19
  3. Having the confidence of parents, staff and students – based on evidence and information – so that they can plan ahead
  4. Ability to prioritise learners at key points, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds
  5. Consistency with the Welsh Government’s framework for decision making, to have guidance in place to support measures such as distancing, managing attendance and wider protective actions.