SCHOOLS in Wales have been given updated guidance to help them plan for the new term – with in-person learning to be prioritised “where possible”.

Before the end of the autumn school term, it was announced that Welsh schools would have an additional two inset days to help them prepare and plan on how to handle a rise in cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

And now the Welsh Government has given schools further guidance ahead of children returning to learning from January 6 (or January 10 at the latest).

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “Updated guidance has been provided to schools ahead of their planning days, which will give them the opportunity to assess capacity and put additional resources in place, where needed.

“This includes planning for remote learning, if and where required – although we continue to prioritise in-person learning, where possible.”

Welsh Government’s checklist for schools includes:

  • Staffing capacity;
  • Plans for moving to remote learning [if needed];
  • Provision for children of critical workers and vulnerable learners;
  • Contingency plans for learners in exam years;
  • Operational arrangements;
  • Lateral Flow Test (LFT) supplies.

Face coverings and regular Lateral Flow testing will be required by staff and high school pupils; they should do LFTs on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays before going into school. 

Close contacts of people who have tested positive for Covid – and are aged five or over – are now being asked to take LFTs every day for seven days, with Welsh Government recommending they take this test before arriving to school each day.

If the test is positive or the person develops symptoms of Covid they should book a PCR test.

Welsh Government has suggested that unvaccinated adults who are identified as a contact of someone with Covid must isolate for seven days. Meanwhile children under five are still not required to self-isolate or test as contacts.

Staff working with learners who are at higher clinical risk or clinically vulnerable have been advised to test daily in line with social care.