It is now over two weeks since my last letter to you all and I wanted to provide you with a quick update on the current position here in Swansea. As you are all aware our schools are pulling out all the stops to plan for the safe return of learners for ‘Check in, Catch up and Prepare’ sessions.
There will be different approaches across our schools based on a lot of different factors. Each school has been carrying out risk assessments to help them identify the approach that is right in your child’s school. However, we have agreed a number of key principles with our headteachers to ensure that wherever possible there is consistency. We also want to stress the arrangements we are putting in place will not mean a return to school and classroom education as we know it. Due to the restrictions on the numbers that can attend at any one time, the days/sessions your child can attend will be limited.
All children, where possible, will be offered a few visits to school in the now three-week period between 29 June and 17 July. Each school risk assessment will determine how often this can take place. We would like to highlight the following key points:
The last day of this school term for pupils in Swansea schools will now be Friday 17 July as originally planned. There has been no national agreement with the trade unions for the planned additional week and to ensure consistency across our schools and in line with a large number of other local authorities we will close for the summer on 17 July.
In line with Welsh Government expectations, childcare remains our top priority and the demand for emergency childcare in each school will influence their capacity to provide check in, catch up and prepare sessions.
Childcare for our key workers will be offered between 8:30am and 3:30pm at every school, 5 days a week. Opening hours can be extended (if needed) by short periods of time at the beginning and end of the day, to facilitate drop off and collection times. Please remember, only children of key workers and our most vulnerable pupils can access this childcare and then only as a last resort.
The local authority recognise that schools (following a detailed risk assessment) might not to be able to offer nursery and reception children the opportunity to check in and catch up before the summer holidays.
Where possible, parents and carers should travel with their children to and from school. Social distancing should be maintained on the journey to and from school. he council’s Transport Team is working with schools and childcare settings to determine the demand for home to school transport for eligible pupils and will endeavour to meet these requirements.
All children will need to bring their own packed lunch to school, unless a school offers half day sessions where no lunch at school is required.
All children will be encouraged to wash their hands regularly with soap and water throughout the day/session. Hand sanitizer will also be available.
Wherever possible, all pupils should have contact with their current and next school year’s class teachers/form teachers when they attend their school. It is possible that this contact might be online. There will also be at least an online opportunity for transition between primary and secondary schools.
As well as a thorough daily clean, a “clean as you go” process will be deployed in all schools to minimise the risk of cross contamination and transmission of Covid-19.
We know you will still have a number of questions which may be specific to your child or your child’s school. Please be reassured your child’s school will be providing you with a lot more detail between now and 29 June and our frequently asked questions (FAQs) have been updated https://www.swansea.gov.uk/covid19schoolsandcolleges. Please take a look at these first. If they do not address your questions, please contact your child’s school or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to speak to someone in a language other than English/Welsh, please email EMAU@swansea.gov.uk with your phone number and the name of the language.
The safety of our children and staff remains our top priority and this will not change. For those who feel the time is not right for their children to attend school then attendance is not compulsory and parents/carers will not risk fines.
Thank you for your continued support.
Director of Education