I hope your children are settling back into school after a very disruptive few months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
I would again like to thank you for the continued support and co-operation you have shown during this difficult time, and for everything you have done to assist your child’s learning, your child’s school and the council.
The appreciation for all teaching assistants, teachers and leaders in our schools remains strong as we approach the return to compulsory education on Monday. With 80% attendance across Swansea schools already, there is a clear message that the return to education is working.
We have been working with schools so that they are well prepared to welcome children back for the autumn term with the appropriate safety measures in place. Considerable work has been carried out in schools in order to reduce the potential transmission of coronavirus, and to minimise any risk to pupils and staff, including risk assessments, increased cleaning and regular handwashing, social distancing and grouping learners. It is important to remember that coronavirus has not gone away, and we all have a responsibility to keep ourselves and others safe.
It is not a normal autumn term. A risk assessment is being carried out in our schools for the most basic of tasks, and key events such as parent evenings and concerts are not currently possible.
Please join me in providing your support to our headteachers and school staff as they make difficult decisions to ensure the safety of all our pupils. The arrangements that have been put in place by schools are of vital importance and I cannot stress strongly enough how important it is that we all adhere to these measures. In particular I would like to remind parents and carers to please follow social distancing advice when dropping off and collecting your children from school.
With all pupils returning next week, it is vital that parents keep their distance to avoid close contact and potential transmission of the virus.
I would ask you to please:
Arrive promptly in your designated time slot.
Stand 2m from other families.
Leave promptly and move away from the school as soon as you have dropped off your child.
Please do not congregate outside the school gates as this is making it difficult for other families arriving at staggered times.
Please can I also remind you of the arrangements if your child is unwell. Under no circumstances should you send your child to school if they:
feel unwell or have any of the three identified COVID-19 symptoms (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or loss of taste or smell) or they have tested positive to COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
live in a household with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive to COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
have returned from a country that is on the quarantine list.
Please note that in these circumstances there is no expectation for the school to be providing work to these children although the Swansea Virtual School remains live and populated with resources should you wish to access it at www.swanseavirtualschool.org.
The latest Welsh Government information shows the virus is continuing to spread in communities across the country with a lockdown imposed in Caerphilly that will go on until at least the end of the month and whole school years having to self-isolate for two weeks in Newport. It’s essential we observe the guidelines and rules which are likely to be strengthened in the coming days and weeks.
Many thanks for your co-operation, it is important we work together to contain the virus and to avoid a spike in our community and the potential re-introduction of lockdown measures.
Interim Director of Education