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PUPILS at schools in Swansea should not miss out on learning should they be asked to self-isolate due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Parents are being reassured that the council and schools are working together to maintain education continuity as much as possible should a class or year group be told they must stay at home.

Similarly, measures have been put in place so that children entitled to free school meals don’t lose out if they’ve been asked to self-isolate because they have the virus or are a contact of someone who does.

Jennifer Raynor, Cabinet Member for Education Improvement, Learning and Skills, said that schools had learned a great deal in how to support children working from home during the extended lockdown.

During that period ‘virtual schools’ were set up which included blended learning using online platforms. This enabled lessons and recorded sessions to be set up to support young people’s wellbeing as well as their learning. The same approach is being adopted during self-isolation periods as part of schools’ continuity of learning plans.

She said: “Our priority will always be the safety and wellbeing of all our learners and staff. Being able to continue with their learning during further disruption is part of that.

“It’s why schools have been building on their experiences of the lockdown to create blended learning approaches which support children in the class and when they have no choice but to work from home.

“Schools are using the council’s blended learning guidance which encourages schools to use online platforms to send and receive work between home and school.

“Staff and pupils are also being trained to use live and recorded sessions and lessons that will support young people’s wellbeing as well as their learning.

“These are challenging and unpredictable times. We will not compromise on safety, If a school is told by the NHS Wales Test, Trace and Protect Service that a class group or even a year group must self-isolate to protect pupils, headteachers will take immediate action to make it happen.

“That could mean learning is interrupted at very short notice. But the work schools have done to prepare and develop their practices over the last few months will help reduce disruption through regular communication during any full or partial closures.”

Pupils who’ve been asked to self-isolate – either because they have the virus or are a contact of a person who is – and are entitled to free school meals are being offered the opportunity to have weekly food parcels delivered to them for the duration of the self-isolation period.

In the first place, parents should contact their schools for further information about learning from home or free school meals.

In letters sent to parents by schools, there is also advice about what families of self-isolating pupils should do and how to spot Covid-19 symptoms. More information can be found here:

Further information on symptoms and self-isolation can be found here https://gov.wales/symptoms-and-self-isolation-contact-tracing

Further formation on Test, Trace, Protect can be found here https://gov.wales/test-trace-protect-coronavirus

For general information on COVID-19 https://gov.wales/protect-yourself-others-coronavirus

The COVID-19 online symptom checker can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do https://gov.wales/check-if-you-need-coronavirus-medical-help

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