Councils in North Wales have reacted largely positively to the news schools will fully reopen in Wales from September 1 this year.

Education minister Kirsty Williams confirmed the move at the daily coronavirus briefing on Thursday.

She said pupils would be in contact groups of a maximum 30 children and she would give schools up to September 14 to reopen.

Ms Williams said there would be “limited social distancing” within contact groups but some limited mixing between groups would be “unavoidable”.

Schools would be required to mitigate risks through strict hygiene measures and adults within schools would have to stick to social distancing guidelines in force at the time.

Now it falls on local authorities in North Wales to prepare for the new regime.

Denbighshire council’s lead member for education Cllr Huw Hilditch-Roberts said safety was the most important aspect of the return to school.

He said: “I applaud the ambition to get every child back into education.

“However we need to think long and hard about the safety of children and staff alike.

“We have had a successful return to school in Denbighshire but we must now build on this further.

“The safety of the children must be paramount.”

Flintshire council leader Cllr Ian Roberts, the Welsh Local Government Association’s spokesman for education, said: “Local authorities will work closely with their schools to make sure necessary arrangements are in place to abide by Welsh Government guidance.

“Our schools have been hit by severe disruption during this pandemic, and we welcome the £29 million pledged by the Minister for targeted support to minimise the effects of the past few months on pupils.

“We will continue to work together in partnership (to provide) the safest and best possible learning experiences for our children and young people, especially in such challenging circumstances.”

In Conwy, cabinet member for education Cllr Julie Fallon was supportive of the move back to full-time schooling.

She went on record to say her son and daughter would go back to class when schools partially reopened at the end of last month.

She said: “It’s really positive to see the pupils will be returning. It’s good that there’s going to be extra support for more vulnerable students.

“Funding for 600 new teachers and 300 new teaching assistants has been announced.

“It’s just going to be good for pupils’ wellbeing and seeing their class mates – and for their futures and future plans.

“We have been working on plans for reopening over the weeks anyway so we will be ready.”

Meanwhile in Gwynedd, cabinet member for education Cllr Cemlyn Rees Williams, acknowledged the strain the pandemic had put teachers, parents and pupils under.

He said: “We know hard working staff in schools, learners and their families may well be under additional emotional, financial and psychological pressure during this incredibly challenging period.

“As a Council, we continue to work closely with schools and settings across the county to consider how best to support the ongoing well-being needs of all learners at this difficult time.

“The £29 million pledge by the Welsh Government to recruit extra staff to support the recovery phase, minimise the impacts on pupils, and continue the ongoing work to raise school standards is to be welcomed.”

Education minister Ms Williams said parents who were nervous about sending their children back to school would not be fined if they kept them at home.

However she said the policy would kept “under review”.

She said the rationale for fully reopening schools came from evidence children, especially those who were younger, didn’t seem to transmit the virus to each other or adults.

Ms Williams added it would be “disingenuous” to say reopening would be “zero risk” but the “balance of risk” was in favour of reopening.

She added parents could “have confidence that they’re sending their children into environments that will be safe and secure”.

Wrexham and Anglesey councils have been approached for comment about the reopenings.