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Remaining Covid restrictions at schools to be lifted next Monday, minister announces

03 May 2022 3 minutes Read
School children wearing masks. Picture by Danny Lawson / PA Wire. Right, Jeremy Miles, Wales’ Education Minister. Picture by the Welsh Government

The remaining Covid restrictions at schools will be lifted next Monday, the education minister has announced.

Jeremy Miles said that the risk from coronavirus was now considered in the same context as other communicable diseases, such as flu.

The last remaining restrictions that remain in place to be lifted on 9 May include that staff and learners should not attend school if they have any Covid-19 symptoms, and the use of face masks in communal areas.

The need for adequate ventilation by opening windows or adjusting ventilation systems, and appropriate cleaning, had also been emphasised in Welsh Government guidance. Schools could also identify that additional interventions may need to be put in place based on local risk.

Jeremy Miles said: “In line with the wider public health guidance published at the last three-week review, we have today written to headteachers to signpost the impending changes to our advice for schools, which reflect the move from pandemic to endemic. This will ensure school guidance is more closely aligned with the rest of society.

“We all know that Covid-19 has not gone way. It remains vitally important we reduce the spread of the virus where we can – this includes, for example, following self-isolation guidance, and for education settings to continue to undertake robust risk assessments.”

Checklist

Asked specifically about face coverings at the press conference, Jeremy Miles said: “As part of the withdrawal of the framework, the wearing of face coverings will not be mandatory in the way that they have been.

“But it’s important that each individual school is also able to undertake a risk assessment as other as other organisations and services do right across our society. And the guidance which we will be providing to schools this week will enable them to make those assessments and for schools which do need to take particular measures can do that and face coverings will obviously be one of a range of measures which are available.

“Schools will be able to make those judgments in conjunction with their local education authorities and public health officials.”

The Welsh Government said it had written to schools in Wales this morning to inform them of the changes.

The First Minister has announced that the remaining coronavirus restrictions will be removed from 9 May, if the public health situation remained stable. The changes to the guidance for schools will also come into effect from 9 May.

Schools and other education settings will continue to be advised to work with local authorities and public health advisors to ensure that measures remain appropriate and proportionate and reflect local risks and circumstances.

A checklist will be provided to support schools and settings in considering which control measures remain proportionate. Special schools will continue to follow the advice for children and young people with higher clinical risk and clinically extremely vulnerable adults, the Welsh Government said.


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