COVID-19: Any specific information relating to Pembrokeshire will be updated at www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus or How to apply for a Covid-19 test, gov.wales/apply-coronavirus-covid-19-test

Children and Schools - Transition to the new normal

COVID-19 School FAQs

The following frequently asked questions have been developed to answer the majority of your queries at this time.

If you have a query about your child’s school please contact the school directly

Should you have any queries that aren’t answered here, please email education.coronavirus@pembrokeshire.gov.uk and we will provide you with a timely response.

Public Health Wales: Schools and Covid 19: Information for Parents

What should I do if my child tests positive when learning from home?

What are the arrangements for going back to school in January?

I am a critical worker and my child cannot stay at home, can my child attend school?

I am a critical worker / my child is vulnerable - How do I apply for a school place?

Why are schools not offering extended hours like they did last summer?

Will breakfast clubs and after school clubs be available to children of critical workers?

Do you have a child 3-4 years old?

What has been done to make schools safe?

Do pupils need to wear face coverings in schools?

What measures are in place on school buses?

What happens if a member of our household has symptoms of Covid-19?

What happens if a pupil or teacher starts to show symptoms of Covid-19 while in school?

 

What should I do if my child tests positive when learning from home?

If your child has a positive test result during school hours please contact their school providing your child’s name and year group.

If your child has a positive test result outside of school hours please contact education.coronavirus@pembrokeshire.gov.uk providing your child’s name, year group and school.

Please remember if your child, or any member of your household has Covid-19 symptoms please request a test by phoning 119 or using the online portal.

What are the arrangements for going back to school in January?

The Welsh Government has announced that schools will continue with online learning until February half-term unless there is a significant reduction in cases by January 29, which is the date of the next Welsh Government 21-day review.

This decision has been made as a result of medical and scientific advice and the rising number of new cases which is putting considerable pressure on the health service.

While schools may be safe environments for education, there is an impact on the R number of associated activity around schools.

Your school will provide you with further information and support on learning from home during this time.

Keeping our schools open is one of main priorities, however, the situation is very serious and it is important that we follow the advice to stay home and protect our health service.

Schools will make on-site provision for children of critical workers (see Welsh Government guidance) as well as vulnerable children where absolutely necessary, however, it is important that children remain at home wherever possible, as this is the safest place for everyone.

Wales is currently in the highest level of restrictions and we must try to limit the interaction between individuals as much as possible to restrict the transmission of the COVID-19 variant.

Therefore, it is vital that every child who can be safely cared for at home should be. It is important to remember that family or friends are now able to help with childcare, which was not the case back in March.

We must protect our learners, staff and their families by minimising the number of children attending school at this time, so we are urging parents to please consider very carefully whether it is absolutely essential that your child receives a place.

Being included on the list does not mean workers in these categories can or will send their children to school. Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept safely at home.

Parents should not apply for places if they are not scheduled to work and have not exhausted all other possible childcare options for example, some parents may be able to amend their usual working arrangements to address childcare needs, or they or their partner are able to work from home.

This provision is available during usual school hours for primary school pupils, secondary school pupils and pupils that attend Portfield Special School and the Pembrokeshire Learning Centre.

Children will be able to access their distance learning within the school setting, so it is important that they bring any work packs provided by their teacher, as well as their iPad etc if it has been provided by the school.

Pupils will also need to bring in a packed lunch. If your child is entitled to free school meals, you will receive payments during this time, more information.

It may be necessary for a headteacher to request further supporting evidence (e.g. ID badge) confirming role to establish if parents meet eligibility.

Please check school websites for the latest details and the school closures website to stay up to date with school closures.

I am a critical worker and my child cannot stay at home, can my child attend school?

We are asking schools to make on-site provision available for vulnerable children and children of critical workers, please see the Welsh Government website for guidance on identifying children of critical workers.

However, it is vitally important that parents follow Government advice and keep their children at home where possible.

Wales is currently in the highest level of restrictions and we must try to limit the interaction between individuals to restrict the transmission of the COVID-19 variant.

Therefore, it is vital that every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.

We must protect our learners, staff and their families by minimising the number of children attending school at this time, so we are urging parents to please consider very carefully whether it is absolutely essential that your child receives a place.

Being included on the list does not mean workers in these categories can or will send their children to school. Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept safely at home.

Parents should not apply for places if they are not scheduled to work and have not exhausted all other possible childcare options; for example, some parents may be able to amend their usual working arrangements to address childcare needs, or they or their partner are able to work from home.

It is important to remember that family or friends are now able to help with childcare, which was not the case back in March.

I am a critical worker / my child is vulnerable - How do I apply for a school place?

You can contact your school directly to express an interest.

This provision is available during usual school hours for primary school pupils, secondary school pupils and pupils that attend Portfield Special School and the Pembrokeshire Learning Centre.

Parents are advised to keep their children home whenever possible. Parents should not apply for places if they are not scheduled to work and have not exhausted all other possible childcare options; for example, some parents may be able to amend their usual working arrangements to address childcare needs, or they or their partner are able to work from home.

Schools have limited capacity so please consider very carefully whether it is absolutely essential that your child receives a place.

Why are schools not offering extended hours like they did last summer?

The situation schools are in at present is very different to that of last summer. At that time schools were officially closed, and we were required to provide childcare for the children of critical workers and support for vulnerable children and young people. We had a hub model staffed by teachers, support staff and council staff.

On January 4 the Welsh Government directed schools to move to remote learning until January 18 – schools are legally still open and required to provide education. Therefore, they will operate for the usual school hours. As this is being provided locally, many schools do not have the staffing capacity to provide an extended service as offered in the March lockdown and the aim is to ensure access to education and not childcare.

Will breakfast clubs and after school clubs be available to children of critical workers?

We are utilising our breakfast club staff where possible and encouraging schools to support the re-opening of any after school clubs based at their schools to extend what’s on offer to children of critical workers. Please ask your school for more information on this.

Do you have a child 3-4 years old? If so, you may be eligible for The Childcare Offer for Wales. The Childcare Offer for Wales provides 30 hours a week of government-funded early education (FPN) and childcare for eligible working parents of 3 to 4 year olds, for up to 48 weeks of the year.  For more information, please visit: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/the-childcare-offer-wales

Important note: The Coronavirus Childcare Assistance Scheme (CCAS) is not currently in place.

 

What has been done to make schools safe?

New full risk assessments have been carried out at all schools. There may be restrictions and one-way systems in some communal areas in some schools. Additional cleaning hours at all schools will allow more frequent cleaning of high frequency contact points in each school. In addition to the thorough daily clean, a 'clean as you go' process will continue to be used in all schools. All children will be encouraged to wash their hands regularly with soap and water throughout the day. Hand sanitisers will also be widely available across each school.

Do pupils need to wear face coverings in schools?

Secondary age pupils may be required to wear face masks in school corridors and communal areas, dependent on the individual school's risk assessment. Schools will provide pupils and parents with details. Face coverings are not needed in primary schools.

What measures are in place on school buses?

Pupils aged over 11 will need to wear face coverings on dedicated school transport services but younger pupils will not need to wear them although may do so if they wish. Pupils with medical exemptions will not need to wear them. Pupils are not allowed to consume food or drink on school transport services.

Pupils travelling on public transport will also be required to wear three layer face coverings if they are aged 11 or over as they will be mixing with the wider travelling public. There will also be social distancing on public transport services.

You can view further information here: Covid-19 School Transport Information  

What happens if a member of our household has symptoms of Covid-19?

There is clear advice for pupils and teachers not to attend school if they or a member of their household begins to show symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19): The main symptoms are a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia).

For most people, coronavirus (Covid-19) will be a mild illness. However, if you have any of the symptoms above you and all members of your household must stay at home and arrange to have a test to see if you have Covid-19. It is very important that you are familiar with the 'Test, Trace and Protect (TTP)' guidance.

You can view this here: Test, Trace, Protect Guidance 

What happens if a pupil or teacher starts to show symptoms of Covid-19 while in school?

There are clear processes in place if any pupil or member of staff displays symptoms whilst in school to ensure the safety of everyone.

 

Related links

Operational guidance for schools and settings from the autumn term

Welsh Government: Updated FAQs

Welsh Government: Childcare and play: alert level 4 FAQs 

 

 

ID: 6553, revised 14/01/2021