All Ceredigion pupils will be taught remotely from Monday, 20 December 2021, until the end of the term.

This decision has been taken to safeguard our children, staff, families and communities by reducing contact to prevent the spread of the virus. Ceredigion’s case rate has shown the second highest increase of all Local Authorities in Wales over the past seven days and cases of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, are rising rapidly in Wales. This, combined with the daily challenges schools have faced with staff absences, has led to a decision to move to remote learning to protect our frontline services as much as possible. This decision has been made with the full support of Head-teachers and Teaching Unions and in the best interest of pupils, their families and school staff.

The Council recognises the hard work of school staff during the year and in meeting the challenges that the coronavirus has brought, whilst at the same time continuing to deliver high teaching quality, face to face or remotely. Parents are thanked for their support during this challenging time.

Children of key workers and vulnerable children can attend school hubs for the remaining three days where required. Further information regarding arrangements will be issued directly by head teachers to parents. Support for pupils receiving free school meals will continue from Monday, 20 December 2021, and over the Christmas holidays. Children who need it will be provided with ICT equipment.

The Council urges all parents to refer their children for a test if they develop any of the symptoms, which are:

a high temperature
a new continuous cough
a loss or change to sense of smell or taste.

Parents should also be aware of other symptoms early on, such as headaches, tiredness and general aches and pains usually associated with the flu.

We urge families who are meeting up with friends and families over Christmas to stick to the basics to keep each other safe:

· Get both jabs and, when invited, get your booster.

· If you have symptoms, self-isolate and book a PCR test.

· Flow before you go; if you do not have symptoms, take regular lateral flow tests before going out – whether that’s to a Christmas party; Christmas shopping; visiting friends or family; going to any crowded or busy place or before travelling.

· Outdoors is safer than indoors.

· Keep your distance when you can.

· Wash your hands.

· Wear a face covering. If you’re in the pub or restaurant, pop your face covering back on if you’re not eating or drinking.

· You can pick up lateral flow tests for free from pharmacies (no booking needed) or by ordering online for home delivery from GOV.UK.

If you have not had your first dose of the vaccination yet – it’s not too late to do so – to protect yourself, the people around you, and the wider community. If you are over 65 and haven’t yet had a booster appointment, or if it has been more than 26 weeks since your second dose and you have not received an appointment, please get in touch with Hywel Dda University Health Board’s directly: https://hduhb.nhs.wales/healthcare/covid-19-information/covid-19-vaccination-programme/request-your-vaccine/

How we act and the choices we make over the coming days and weeks will determine the number of cases that will be in the county as we approach the new year. We appreciate your co-operation and all good wishes for you over the Christmas period.

By Editor

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