All secondary schools and colleges in Wales will physically CLOSE from Monday and pupils will return to online learning in desperate attempt to reduce the spread of coronavirus
- Secondary schools and colleges will shut in Wales from Monday December 14
- Pupils will return to online learning in attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus
- Comes after experts told Welsh ministers public health situation deteriorating
All secondary schools and colleges in Wales will physically close from Monday and pupils will be told to return to online learning in a desperate attempt to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Education Minister Kirsty Williams made the announcement this afternoon as she said it was necessary as part of a ‘national effort to reduce transmission’ of the disease.
It comes after health experts advised the Welsh Government that the public health situation in the country was deteriorating.
The decision to go back to remote learning is likely to prompt intense scrutiny of Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford’s handling of the pandemic because the announcement comes just weeks after the end of his ‘fire break’ lockdown.
The Welsh Government said the latest official data showed that rates of Covid-19 have further increased across Wales and have now exceeded 370 cases per 100,000 people.
The positive test rate is now at 17 per cent while the R rate in Wales has spiked to 1.27.
Education Minister Kirsty Williams today announced all secondary school and college pupils will return to online learning from Monday
Ms Williams said: ‘Every day, we are seeing more and more people admitted to hospital with coronavirus symptoms.
‘The virus is putting our health service under significant and sustained pressure and it is important we all make a contribution to reduce its transmission.
‘In his advice to me today, the CMO [chief medical officer] recommends that a move to online learning should be implemented for secondary school pupils as soon as is practicable.
‘I can therefore confirm that a move to online learning should be implemented for secondary school pupils and college students from Monday next week.’
Ms Williams said primary schools and special schools will be encouraged to stay open because ‘we recognise… that it is more difficult for primary and special school age children to undertake self-directed learning’.
She continued: ‘Having spoken to local education leaders, I am confident that schools and colleges have online learning provision in place.
‘This will also be important in ensuring that students are at home during this time, learning and staying safe.
‘Critically, and this is very important, children should be at home. This is not an early Christmas holiday, please do everything you can to minimise your contact with others.’
Despite the closure of secondary schools and colleges, Ms Williams insisted that schools are ‘safe and secure environments’.
But she claimed that schools being open can contribute to ‘wider social mixing’ outside schools and colleges.