Schools in Gwynedd return to online learning amid stubbornly high Covid case rates
Gareth Williams, local democracy reporter
Ten schools in Gwynedd have reintroduced online learning and asked entire year groups to stay at home amid rising Covid-19 cases in the county.
Officers have spoke of continued concern as Gwynedd’s infection rates in continue to be being amongst the highest in Wales and across the UK.
Over the seven days leading to November 25, Gwynedd’s infection rate per 100,000 people was 851 – well above the Welsh average of 472.1 and the highest in the north by some margin.
While on Tuesday 102 new cases were recorded, bringing Gwynedd’s total to 14,549.
With specific spikes witnessed in the Caernarfon, Bala, Ffestiniog, Dolgellau and Pen Llŷn areas, the authority has confirmed that transmission has also impacted on education across some of its schools.
Dafydd Williams, Chair of the Gwynedd Covid-19 Prevention and Surveillance Group said that the decision to offer online classes to certain classes or year groups had been taken to control any clusters of cases and to keep pupils safe.
“The number of cases in Gwynedd are stable but remain a cause for concern and we urge all residents to continue to play their part to keep our communities safe,” he added.
“We have seen cases of Covid-19 in schools across the county. When cases are identified within a school there are robust arrangements in place to control the chain of transmission.
“Extra protection measures are applied when 10% of pupils in classes or school years have tested positive for COVID- 19, with virtual learning adopted when 25% are tested positive.
“Of the 94 secondary and primary schools in Gwynedd, ten of those currently have some classes or school years receiving their education virtually.
“This targeted approach has been endorsed by public health experts on the protection and surveillance group.
“It is helping us to control any clusters of cases and to keep pupils, and the rest of the Gwynedd population safe from the effects of Covid-19.”
To help stop the spread of Covid-19, Gwynedd residents are urged to:
- Take-up the offer of the vaccine – it’s never too late to get the jab;
- Attend a Covid-19 booster appointment – when eligible, you will be invited directly by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board;
- Be on the look-out for any Covid symptoms – if you develop symptoms, self-isolate and arrange a test straight away by calling 119 or online, you can also arrange for a test to be sent to your home;
- Follow the advice of the Gwynedd Test, Trace and Protect team – if they contact you because you’re a close contact of a confirmed case, arrange a test to help stop the spread;
- Always wear a mask when you visit shops or any indoor public places;
- Limit contact with large groups of people as much as possible, and if you do decide to attend a gathering, consider taking a lateral flow test before and after you do so;
- If meeting people, remember that it’s far safer to do so outside.
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Just a suggestion- maybe it would help if they allowed 16-17 yo to get their second jabs. It certainly wouldn’t do any harm!