Ionawr - January
Please read the following correspondence from Torfaen CBC;
Delayed start to the new term
Due to the potential impact of the Covid-19 Omicron variant over the next few weeks, the Welsh Government have instructed every school in Wales to take the first 2 days of the new term (Tuesday 4th and Wednesday 5th of January) as additional inset days to prepare for potential disruption to learning and teaching.
These days will give schools extra time to assess staffing capacity, reconsider risk assessments and mitigations and put any necessary measures in place to support the return of learners.
Our priority is to always minimise disruption to our pupils’ education and maintain face to face learning in the classroom in a safe way for everyone. However, to protect our pupils and staff we are also being asked to prepare for a period of remote learning should cases locally result in significant staff or pupil absence.
This is a very fast-moving situation so we will also ensure that if there are any further updates over the holiday period, we will share these in advance of the scheduled return to school on the 6th of January.
I hope this advance notice gives you plenty of time to make any necessary arrangements at home.
Over the holiday period I would encourage everyone to prioritise getting their booster jab when offered and it is vital that no one with COVID-19 symptoms attends school at the start of the new term.
I want to thank you for your continued support during these extremely challenging times and I hope you and all your family have a happy and healthy Christmas.
Given this information term will now start for pupils on Thursday, January 6th (the training day planned for Jan 4th will now be a planning day we are waiting to hear if the training day will be re-arranged for later in the year). There is a further meeting planned between Welsh Government and Local Authorities on December 30th. Schools will be updated following this meeting.
As you can tell from the speed at which this information is coming out and how late in the term it is there is a great deal of uncertainty about what exactly school will look like in January.
We have been told to plan for pupils starting schools in January under the government’s Very High Risk category in the Local Covid Control Framework. In reality for pupils, staff and parents this means that schools will be very much like they were when children returned in February of this year. Classes will be kept in bubbles, bubbles will be kept separate in the dinner hall and on the playground and we won’t be able to have large groups of pupils together e.g. for assemblies.
Possibly there will be some staggering of finish times at the end of the school day. We are restricted in how we do this because of bus timetables and bus contractors needing to transport pupils form other schools. There may be a small stagger between 3 15 and 3 30 but nothing significantly different to what we are doing now.
However we also need to prepare in case we end up with another period of online learning. At the moment we do not expect this to happen but we must plan in case. As a result, tomorrow we will ensure all pupils have the necessary login details for Hwb and Class Dojo.
I apologise for the many uncertainties in the information shared with you today but we have received it at the same time as yourselves and much of it we have learnt through news channels.
I will update parents on or around the 30th of December following the next update we expect from government. We will have a clearer picture then but it is likely that some details will come on the 4th and 5th of January.
Rhys ap Gwyn