Schools, colleges and independent schools in Wales should move to online learning until 18 January, Welsh Education Minister Kirsty Williams has said.
In a written statement to the Senedd on Monday, Ms Williams said that the Welsh Government had agreed the decision in consultation with the Welsh Local Government Association and Colegau Cymru in light of the UK moving into COVID Alert Level 5.
Schools and colleges will remain open for vulnerable children and the children of key workers, while special schools and pupil referral units are being told to remain open if possible. Nurseries and childcare settings can remain open.
Announcing the decision Kirsty Williams said;
“As a government we will use the next two weeks to continue to work with local authorities, schools and colleges to plan for the rest of term. This is the best way to ensure that parents, staff and learners can be confident in the return to face to face learning, based on the latest evidence and information.”
Ms Williams added,
“It is now clear that a national approach of online learning for the first fortnight of term is the best way forward.
“We know that schools and colleges have been safe and secure environments throughout the pandemic. However, we also know that education settings being open can contribute to wider social mixing outside the school and college environment. We are confident that schools and colleges have online learning provision in place for this immediate period.”
Wales is currently under stay at home lockdown measures. In England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce a new lockdown in an address to the nation this evening at 8pm.