Lockdown exit plan for Wales gives some clarity

Coronavirus lockdown exit plan for Wales

By Richard Fraser, Editor

A "traffic light" roadmap, setting out how Wales could exit the coronavirus lockdown, has been published by the First Minister of Wales.

The traffic light categories will apply across Welsh life, including reopening schools and childcare facilities.

The traffic light approach is based on:

Education and Care for Children*

  • Lockdown (current):  Schools are only open to vulnerable pupils and children of key workers.
  • Red: Schools and childcare enabled to manage increase in demand from more key workers and vulnerable pupils returning.
  • Amber: Priority groups of pupils to return to school in a phased approach. Increased numbers of children in childcare
  • Green: All children and students able to access education. All children able to access childcare.

(*Schools, Colleges, HE/FE institutions, Childcare providers, PRUs, Special Schools and EOTAS)

Over the next 10 days, the Welsh Government will be talking to a wide range of partners "to develop a common understanding of what needs to be done to prepare for the gradual reduction in restrictions"  Initially, it will consult on guidance in relation to sectors including:
• The workplace
• Public transport
• Schools, childcare, further education and other public services
• Higher education.

 

Education Minister Kirsty Williams has published a document,  The decision framework for the next phase of education and childcare: considerations, planning and challenges (pdf), which she said she would be a "stimulus for wider discussion and feedback" on how social distancing and other measures will be implemented:

"Nothing would make me happier than seeing our classrooms full again.

"But I want to be clear that this framework does not - and I will not - set an arbitrary date for when more pupils will return to school.

"Setting a date before we have more evidence, more confidence and more control over the virus would be the wrong thing to do."

She said it will not be one decision but "a series of decisions over time".

Elizabeth Williams, Voice's Senior Professional Officer (Wales), commented:

"The unions were consulted in the drafting of the document, and we welcome its publication in order to provide some clarity as to what needs to be considered before any children and staff can safely return to schools, colleges and nurseries in Wales."

Further information

Unlocking our society and economy: continuing the conversation (pdf)

The decision framework for the next phase of education and childcare: considerations, planning and challenges (pdf)

Voice: Returning to school in Wales: a little clarification after the confusion (updated 7 May 2020)

Voice's Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page

 

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