Children aged three to seven will return to the classroom after February half-term, Wales’ Education Minister has confirmed.
Speaking at Welsh Government’s coronavirus press briefing on Friday (February 5), Kirsty Williams confirmed pupils would start returning to school from Monday, February 22.
Ms Williams also confirmed schools would remain open for vulnerable pupils and children of key workers, as well as pupils sitting exams and assessments.
The minister also said a “small number” of vocational learners, including apprentices, could return to colleges.
However, no timetable has been given for the return of all pupils to classrooms.
Ms Williams said: “We have prioritised our youngest learners because of the favourable evidence on transmission in younger children, and also because we know they find it difficult to learn remotely.”
She added: “I must make a plea to all learners, parents and carers – please continue to follow the guidelines.
“By following the guidance restricting contact with others, we are ensuring children and young people are able to do what we all want, which is to be back learning with their friends.”
Dr Chris Jones – the deputy chief medical officer for Wales – said keeping the R-rate below 1 would be an important factor in allowing more face-to-face learning. He said the current R-rate in Wales is between 0.7 and 0.9.
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