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January 2022 start date and measures to minimise the risk of transmission of Covid 19.

Dear Parents and Carers, 

Thank you for your continued support and cooperation over the course of this 
year in supporting your children and our schools in what can only be 
described as challenging circumstances. You may already be aware through 
the press and other media sources that the Education Minister has written to 
Education Directors and school leaders regarding the start of the spring term 
2022 and the challenges we may face as result of the Omicron variant of 
COVID19. 

We all want to keep your children safe and provide continuity of learning for 
all our learners that is why we have made no changes to the end of term 
arrangements in our schools with a number of our schools continuing their 
term into next week. 

The spring term will bring a new set of challenges for all schools as the Minister 
for Education has asked schools across Wales to return to the very high-risk 
level in the local decision making framework. 

As a result of that decision all schools have been provided with two planning 
days at the start of next term. In some cases, schools had already planned 
INSET days at the start of next term and may be unable to change those 
arrangements. Schools will be able to provide you with a revised return to 
school date via their usual communication channels by the end of school 
today. 

 

Schools are being asked to implement from January higher levels of mitigation 
similar to those as we exited from lockdown. This means that we will return to: 

 contact groups from January 
 schools may re-introduce staggered starts and finishes; and 
 changes to timetables in order ensure that they can keep learners safe. 


Learner wellbeing and support will be part of our key priorities as well as 
keeping learning going. 

On the two planning days, schools will test their distance learning systems 
should a return to these be required next term as result of the ongoing 
concerns regarding COVID19. We hope that these will not be needed in the 
weeks ahead but we will need to wait and see in the spring term if these are 
required. 

We are committing to supporting our schools and school leaders in minimising 
the impact on learners’ education. 

Those families who are eligible for free school meals will receive payments for 
the 4th and 5th of January to support them as school kitchens will not be 
operating on these dates. 

Face coverings will continue to be required by secondary aged learners in all 
indoor areas, including classrooms, where physical distance cannot be 
maintained. 

Staff and learners of secondary age and above are urged to continue regular 
Lateral Flow Testing - the strong advice is to test three times in the week before 
returning to school and to then continue testing regularly three times a week 
after the start of term. 

Yours sincerely 


Steven Richards-Downes 

Director of Education 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

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