A number of measures used to help keep pupils and staff safe at schools in the Swansea Bay area last term are to be retained.
Due to the high number of people across the region testing positive for Covid-19, public health leaders are asking schools to retain a number of precautions that were in place before the summer in line with latest Welsh Government guidance.
This means that pupils and staff at comprehensives will continue to be encouraged to take twice weekly LFT tests and be expected to wear face coverings indoors although not in classrooms.
Face masks will also still be required on school transport.
Schools are being asked to look at reintroducing one-way systems in corridors if they have stopped using them and to look at seating plans.
Desks will be front-facing where practical and there will be no full school assemblies.
But schools will not be returning to ‘bubble’ groups where whole year groups need to isolate if a positive case is recorded.
Parents and carers are again being reminded that they should not send their children to school if they are unwell or have any of the coronavirus symptoms.
Dr Keith Reid, Executive Director of Public Health for the Swansea Bay region, said: “Covid has not gone away in our region or in Wales and levels of infection are now as high as last December. Schools are not themselves a high risk, but we are asking them to take steps to help prevent the continuing spread of the virus in the wider community.
“The current and sustained high level of Covid-19 infections in Swansea means we are asking schools to take action which is in line with the Welsh Government framework for education ‘High’ rating.
“Schools will now take steps as outlined in the national framework. The risk rating will be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that the approach in schools remains based on our local understanding of the situation.
“We have said consistently that the virus was still around and we all need to play a part in limiting the risk of infection.
“So I am asking people in Swansea Bay to continue to wash your hands regularly, to avoid heavily crowded places and remember that fresh air is important so if you are out socialising, meet outdoors if you can.
“Vaccination is an extremely important protection against infection and drop-in vaccination sessions are running regularly in Swansea Bay for anyone over the age of 16.”