School Restart – Information for children and young people
The Minister for Education has announced that all children and young people in Wales can return to school full time in September, with all learners being physically present on site by 14 September.
The health and safety of pupils remains priority and Cardiff Council, in line with Government guidance, is working closely with schools to maintain appropriate measures so that they can welcome all children and young people, and their staff back safely.
Schools will make arrangements according to their own circumstances and they will tell parents directly about the individual arrangements for their pupils.
Families are reminded that under no circumstances should learners attend school if they;
- feel unwell, have any of the three identified COVID-19 symptoms (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or loss of taste and/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.
Frequently Asked Questions that you may have.
When does the Autumn Term start?
The Autumn Term begins on Tuesday 1 September. The Minster’s announcement understands that a phased approach to all schools returning will be required over the first two weeks of term, with all pupils expected to be back in schools together from 14 September.
Schools in Cardiff will begin the year with one or two planning days in September, as they usually do, with pupils returning on a phased basis in the first and second week of term. Your school will notify your parents/carers of their arrangements.
Why is it now safe to allow all children back to school when in June it was small groups only?
Welsh Government has based the decision on scientific and technical advice which recommends that schools plan to open in September for all pupils. This decision is based on monitoring the numbers of people with COVID-19 in the community and that the amount of people with COVID-19 continues to go down.
In addition, the NHS Track, Trace, Protect (TTP) system is in place, delivering an approach to tackling coronavirus by testing people with symptoms in the community, tracing those who have come into close contact with people who have tested positive for coronavirus, and protecting family, friends and the community by self-isolating.
Welsh Government have also that the risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 is now known to be very low.
Schools operating safely
Welsh Government have given guidance to schools to safely open so that all pupils can return to school. This guidance can be found at:
What has been done to make schools safe?
Each school has worked carefully with a Health & Safety Team to decide how they can open safely. This includes new rules for the building, new practices for staying clean and physical social distancing rules.
Important rules will include:
- that people who are unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 stay at home
- Anyone who has COVID-19 takes part in Test, Trace, Protect (TTP)
- Careful and regular hand washing and increased fresh air including ventilation
- Continue increased cleaning arrangements
- Making sure pupils avoid coming into close contact and more social distancing between those in school wherever possible
- Grouping learners together
- Avoiding contact between these groups as much as possible
- Staff social distancing from learners and other staff as much as possible
Will the school be cleaned regularly?
Yes, schools will be cleaned thoroughly before they open and schools will be cleaned twice a day with disinfectant being used on tables, handrails, door handles, push pads, taps, flushes etc.
- Schools have been given cleaning advice about the areas that are used a lot during the day where cleaning should take place more often.
- Rooms that are being used by more than one group will have the tables and chairs cleaned between the group changes.
Will shared learner resources, class equipment and toys be cleaned regularly?
- Schools will look at the resources that staff and learners use to see if they can use less and lessen the risk of staff and pupils touching things that need to be cleaned.
- Schools will be responsible for making sure that items that need to be cleaned are cleaned in the way they should be, as it says in the health and safety guidance.
- Wherever possible, learners will be given their own resources, e.g. pens, pencils, to reduce the risk of cross contamination.
- Where resources are shared, these will be cleaned between uses where this is practical.
Will hand washing and sanitiser provided for pupils to use?
- Yes, regular hand-washing will be part of the school routine and the first stop for all pupils at the start of every day, and throughout the day thereafter.
- Handwashing is the most effective way to stay safe but if pupils cant wash their hands, hand sanitiser will be provided.
- Hand sanitiser stations will be at key points in schools, such as entrances to the school and close to toilets.
- Extra supplies of tissues and bins will be given to all schools to encourage pupils to ‘Catch It, Kill It, Bin It’ and pupils should sanitise hands afterwards.
- Schools will ensure help is available for learners who have difficulty cleaning their hands independently.
How will social distancing for drop off and pick up times be managed?
- Your school will tell your parents or carers the arrangements for drop off and pick up of pupils from school.
- Staggered arrival and departure times at school may still operate, where possible, so all groups might not start and finish at the same times.
- A series of traffic schemes will be in place at some schools to ensure the safety of children and families at drop-off or collection. This includes road closures, one way systems and the widening of pavements. To check if there are traffic schemes planned for your school please visit: cardiff.gov.uk/schoolstreets
Parents and carers are reminded to follow social distancing rules when dropping off and collecting their children and not to gather in groups during these times.
Should pupils wear face coverings?
- Cardiff Council recommends that all mainstream secondary school pupils wear face coverings when moving around their school, in communal areas such as lifts, stairwells, toilets and canteen areas and in situations where social distancing cannot be followed.
- All mainstream secondary school pupils who travel to school by mainstream school bus or public transport will be given a face mask which should be worn at all times whilst travelling to school.
- Every mainstream secondary school pupil will be given two re-usable fabric face coverings.
- Primary school age children don’t need to wear face coverings at the moment. This could change depending on infection rates or outbreaks in the city.
On 26 August 2020 the Minister for Health and Social Services published updated advice on face coverings, based on recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Chief Medical Officer (CMO).
Information about the wearing of face coverings for mainstream secondary school pupils
Below are a series of do’s and don’ts to consider when wearing of face coverings;
Please follow the link to an instructional video on the use, storage and maintenance of face coverings.
- Clean your hands before touching the covering
- Inspect the covering for damage or if dirty
- Adjust the covering to your face without leaving gaps on the sides
- Cover your mouth, nose and chin
- Avoid touching the covering
- Clean your hands before removing the covering
- Remove the covering by the straps behind the ears or head
- Pull the covering away from your face
- Store the covering in a clean plastic, re-sealable bag if it is not dirty or wet and you plan to re-use it
- Remove the covering by the straps when you take it out of the bag
- Wash the covering in soap or detergent, preferably with hot water at least once a day
- Clean your hands after removing the covering
- Do not use a covering that looks damaged
- Do not wear a loose covering (tying a knot at the end of the ear loops will tighten the fit)
- Do not wear the mask under the nose
- Do not remove the covering where there are people within 2 metres
- Do not use a covering that is difficult to breathe through
- Do not wear a dirty or wet covering
- Do not share your mask with others
Will staff wear face coverings?
All primary and secondary school based staff are advised to wear face coverings when moving around their school, in communal areas including corridors, toilets, kitchens and when social distancing cannot be observed.
Should I attend school if I have any COVID symptoms, or live with someone who has COVID symptoms?
Under no circumstances should pupils attend schools/setting if they:
- feel unwell, 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.
Please ring the school to report if you or a family member is ill.
Will children have temperature checks on arrival to school?
No, but if a pupil seems poorly in school, their temperature maybe taken to decide the best place and way to take care of them until they can be picked up.
Parents/carers should check their child’s temperature before bringing them to school if they think the child is unwell.
Will staff and pupils be tested for COVID-19?
Anyone who feels ill and thinks they have COVID can book a test.
What happens if someone at school shows symptoms of COVID-19?
Anyone showing symptoms of the virus should be kept apart from everyone else until they can be picked up and taken home.
- Anyone who has symptoms of the virus should stay at home for 10 working days
- They should arrange to be tested straight away to determine if they are a confirmed case and should remain home until results are confirmed.
- Test, Trace, Protect (TTP) will make contact if a learner tests positive for COVID-19.
- Anyone who lives with someone displaying symptoms but remains well or who has tested positive should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person became ill.
How will Track, Trace, Protect (TTP) help the safe return of schools?
Test, Trace, Protect (TTP) sets out the next phase of the approach to tackling coronavirus; testing people with symptoms in the community, tracing those who have come into close contact with people who have tested positive for coronavirus, and protecting family, friends and the community by self-isolating.
Schools will reinforce these messages and in particular, remind all those who show symptoms to self-isolate and book a test. Those living with someone showing symptoms should also self-isolate.
Further information and questions and answers about Test, Trace, Protect (TTP) can be found on the Welsh Government website and in Guidance on Test Trace Protect.
What happens if there is an outbreak in school?
- If there are multiple cases of COVID-19 in a school, then experts from across the NHS and local government will work together to stop further transmission within the school.
- This will involve identifying those exposed to the virus, any child or staff member who is at increased risk and infection control advice.
- Advice will be given to support the school in preventing further spread.
- Parents and Carers will be kept informed of the situation by the School.
What if I or someone I live with is shielding?
- The Welsh Government advice to shield stopped on 16th of August.
- If you were shielding up until then or if someone else in your household was shielding, they should now return to school in September, unless they have received professional medical advice otherwise.
Will my parents or carers be fined if they choose not to send me to school?
- From 14 September, school will be compulsory and all learners will return unless they have a medical/health reason not to, or if the advice at the time is that they should not attend school.
- The Welsh Government will monitor the situation over the first half term. During this time, Welsh Government has taken the decision that parents won’t be fined but this will be under review.
How will schools monitor attendance?
- Regular attendance is important to help learners catch up on missed education, make progress and promote their well-being and wider development. Learners must be in school unless a statutory reason applies (such as sickness, leave of absence etc).
- Schools will support learners and parents who are reluctant or anxious about the return to school.
- Schools and settings will keep a record of attendance and families should tell their school if their child is unable to attend. This will help schools, settings and local authorities plan for and understand any reasons stopping learners returning to school and see if any further support is needed.
We are a BAME family, is it safe to send our children to school?
The Welsh Government’s All Wales COVID-19 Workforce Risk Assessment Tool, has been designed to help addresses individual risk factors, regardless of ethnicity.
Will there still be school assemblies?
As stated in Welsh Government’s operational guidance, “contact groups should be kept apart where possible”. This means that schools should avoid large gatherings such as assemblies or collective worship with more than one group.
Will secondary school pupils still have different teachers for different subjects or will they have one for the whole day?
All teachers and staff can work across different classes and year groups to ensure the delivery of the school timetable but will practice social distancing. Arrangements will be made by individual schools.
Will we have break times and how will social distancing be managed during these times?
Yes, pupils will have break times and lunchtimes but they will be at different times to other groups or year groups to help with social distancing.
What do I need to bring to school, do I need my own equipment?
Welsh Government guidance states that learners should limit the amount of equipment they bring into school each day, to essentials only.
Schools will tell you what to bring and what not to bring
Will I have to wear my uniform?
Learners can wear school uniform but the main thing is to wear something that is comfortable and easily washable. Uniform that cannot be machine washed should be avoided.
Will the curriculum return to normal?
Welsh Government has given guidance for the autumn term and outlines several priorities.
Will we still be expected to do school work at home?
To ensure schools can be flexible and responsive to changing circumstances and in case of further disruption to on site learning, schools will need to continue to focus on different approaches such as blended learning.
What is meant by ‘blended’ learning?
Blended learning is a combination of technology and digital media with traditional in school classroom activities. It means children can still learn at home with help from their school.
Will school meals be available?
For the first two weeks of term until the 14th September, there will be no school meals and pupils will need to bring packed lunches. Your parents or carers will be told when school meals start again.
What if I usually receive Free School Meals?
The payment and voucher system for Free School Meals will continue until September 14 or until school meals start again.
Active Travel is considered the safest and healthiest way to get to school and pupils will be encouraged to walk, scoot or cycle where possible.
Changes to road layout around some schools will be kept to support safe access.
If you cannot attend school without school transport, your school will contact your parents or carers for the start of term.
What happens if I usually take a bus to school?
Mainstream School Transport will go back to normal from September.
School transport will be available with additional safety measures in place. These will include;
- Each vehicle will be classed as a separate bubble;
- All pupils will be expected to sit in the same seats on their way to and from school;
- Pupils must not travel if they or anyone in your household has symptoms of Covid-19
- Hand sanitiser will be available on all vehicles, pupils must use this when getting on/off the vehicle;
- Vehicles will be deep cleaned on a weekly basis and all regularly touched services will be wiped down after each journey
All of the above is subject to changes in guidance from Welsh Government.
Am I expected to wear a face covering when travelling on a school bus?
- Mainstream secondary school pupils will be expected to wear face coverings while travelling on mainstream school buses, minibuses and taxis. Cardiff Council will give all mainstream secondary school pupils two reusable face coverings.
- Pupils with Additional Educational Needs don’t need to wear face coverings although masks will be given to those that wish to use them.
- Primary school pupils don’t need to wear face coverings however this will be kept under review in line with Government guidance.
I take a taxi to school, will I need to wear a face covering?
Cardiff Council expects all secondary school pupils to wear face coverings while in taxis and they will be given masks. Pupils with Additional Educational Needs or Primary school pupils don’t need to wear face coverings although masks will be given to those that wish to use them.
What if I travel to school using public transport?
Mainstream secondary school pupils will be expected to wear a face covering when travelling on public transport.
Please visit Transport for Wales for more information and guidance relating to travelling on public transport. The link is here: https://trc.cymru/travel-safer
Will there be breakfast club and/or after school clubs?
Your school or registered childcare provider will tell your parents or carers of the plans.
Are you concerned about a friend?
For emergencies when you think they may be in danger please call the Police on 999.
If you have concerns about a child’s health or wellbeing act on them. Even if your concerns seem small to you, please report them. All reports are taken seriously and acted upon sensitively.