SECONDARY school pupils in Carmarthenshire will be required to wear face coverings on school transport and in school indoor communal areas where social distancing cannot be maintained.
The decision has been made after consulting with secondary school headteachers and school transport operators in the county.
It follows advice published yesterday (Wednesday, August 26) by Welsh Government’s Technical Advisory Group on the use of face coverings in schools.
This means secondary school pupils in Carmarthenshire will be required to wear a face covering on all school transport (including taxis) and in communal areas where schools risk assessments demonstrate social distancing is not possible. This does not include classrooms.
This use of face coverings does not apply to those pupils who are exempt for medical reasons.
We are asking parents initially to provide face coverings for their children for the first day of school where possible. The council will provide a reusable face covering for those pupils who do not have suitable provision.
It is important to remember that face coverings are not to be used as a substitute for social distancing and handwashing.
Schools will be minimising contact between individual cohorts as much as possible and pupils will stay in their groups where practicable.
Executive Board Member for Education and Children’s Services Cllr Glynog Davies said: “Our top priority, since the start of this pandemic, is to keep everyone, both pupils and staff, as safe as possible and allow them to focus on learning.
“We have discussed the latest advice from Welsh Government on the use of face coverings with our secondary school headteachers and school transport operators.
“Pupils and staff will be required to wear face coverings in areas where social distancing cannot be managed, including school transport and in some communal areas inside schools, for example, in corridors and canteens.
“It is important to note that this is in addition to various measures we have already introduced in our schools to limit the risk to staff and pupils. It includes separate entrances / exits and one-way systems, increased cleaning, the installation of handwashing and sanitiser stations; as well as other procedures such as grouping pupils and staggered lunch times to reduce contact as much as possible.
“We hope parents will support this decision and help reinforce this message on the use of face coverings with their children, along with the importance of social distancing and regular handwashing.
“We are also encouraging the use of reusable face coverings where possible, rather than single use face coverings, not only is this better for the environment but it costs less too.”
The use of face coverings in schools will be continually reviewed.
For further information on the arrangements for going back to school please visit the council website carmarthenshire.gov.wales/education
We have put together some frequently asked questions which are being continually updated.