Welsh Government confirms that schools will close early as part of pandemic response

Welsh Government has announced that new national measures will be in place from Monday 14 December for schools and colleges across Wales.

All secondary schools, including sixth forms, will close after Friday 11 December and move to online learning only from Monday 14 December.

In Bridgend County Borough, all infant, junior, primary and special schools (including The Bridge) will remain open until Wednesday 16 December before moving to online learning for the rest of that week.

Should it prove to be necessary in order to keep pupils, teachers and staff safe, some schools may need to close prior to this.

Cllr Charles Smith, Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, said: “Following the sudden and concerning recent rise in positive coronavirus cases across the county borough, we had already announced that we were making changes to school opening arrangements.

“This concern has clearly been shared by Welsh Government on a wider level as the new arrangements apply to the whole of Wales.

“In addition to these arrangements, headteachers and governing bodies will also be able to decide whether an individual school needs to finish prior to the required dates in order to manage any specific circumstances which may arise.”

Announcing the new requirements, Education Minister Kirsty Williams said: “Every day, we are seeing more and more people admitted to hospital with coronavirus symptoms.

“The virus is putting our health service under significant and sustained pressure and it is important we all make a contribution to reduce its transmission.

“In his advice to me today, the Chief Medical Officer recommends that a move to online learning should be implemented for secondary school pupils as soon as is practicable. I can therefore confirm that a move to online learning should be implemented for secondary school pupils and college students from Monday next week.

“We recognise, as we did during the firebreak, that it is more difficult for primary and special school age children to undertake self-directed learning. That is why we are encouraging primary and special schools to continue to stay open.

“Having spoken to local education leaders, I am confident that schools and colleges have online learning provision in place. This will also be important in ensuring that students are at home during this time, learning and staying safe.

“Critically, and this is very important, children should be at home. This is not an early Christmas holiday, please do everything you can to minimise your contact with others.

“The education family in Wales has pulled together so many times this year to make a real difference to the course of this virus and ultimately to save lives, and I know we can do the same again. Together, we will keep Wales safe.”

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