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Most children back to school in March if returning 3-7 year olds don’t cause case rise – Drakeford

19 Feb 2021 2 minute read
Mark Drakeford speaking to BBC Breakfast

The First Minister has said that most children will be sent back to school on 15 March as long as sending back 3-7-year-olds from Monday doesn’t lead to a rise in cases.

He said that while the number of cases and those in hospital was “currently going in the right direction here in Wales” they would need to see the impact of some children returning first.

All primary school-age children and examination age secondary school children would return on 15 March if all was well, he said.

“I will be confirming today that children aged 3-7 in Wales will be back in school as of Monday of next week,” he told BBC Breakfast.

“And in three weeks’ time provided all goes well our aim will be to have all primary age children and examination age children in secondary back in the classroom as well from the 15th of March.

“We’ll be looking for the number of people ill with coronavirus in Wales to continue to fall. We’ll be looking for positivity rates continuing to fall.

“The R rate in Wales is below 1 – that will need to continue. We will look at the hospital sector to make sure the number of people in hospital beds continues to decline.

“All of those things are currently going in the right direction here in Wales. We will need to see whether bringing some children back into school has any impact on that.

“Provided things continue to go in the right direction then the whole of primary age children, plus examination age children at secondary school back in the classroom from the 15th of March.”

‘Right thing’

Stay-at-home restrictions will remain in place in Wales for a further three weeks as the youngest children start returning to school from Monday.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething however told Sky News that other minor changes including increasing the number of people who can exercise together from two to four, were being considered for the next review.

But he warned all of these things depend on “if we an stay on top of coronavirus and if we can all do the right thing”. A new variation of the virus could change their best-laid plans, he said.

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