AS lunchboxes and school bags are packed up now the summer break is over, many have some burning questions about what the return to the classroom will hold in Wales.

The Welsh Government issued a series of FAQ responses to put minds at ease and cover as many questions as possible.

If you have any questions that you want us to ask specifically, please get in touch via email or social media!

Below, we have a few responses to common questions…

What measures are in place to ensure schools are safe for learners and staff?

Schools and settings working with their local authority must follow the reasonable measures guidance, which sets out requirements on employers to carry out risk assessments.

At alert level zero, there will be more flexibility to determine what is required to manage risks.

However, COVID-19 has not gone away, and reducing close interactions between individuals is still important in helping to control its spread.

Can my child attend school if they have a cold?

If a child has mild cold-like symptoms they should continue to go to school, if fit to do so.

The three main symptoms of COVID-19 to be aware of are:

1. a new continuous cough

2. fever or high temperature

3. loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste

If your child develops one of these symptoms, they should follow the self-isolation guidance and you should apply for a coronavirus test.

Rhyl Journal:

Who should I inform if I or my child has displayed symptoms of COVID-19?

Children displaying symptoms of COVID-19 should remain at home, and parents are advised to arrange a test and ensure self-isolation guidance is adhered to.

If the test comes back positive, the contact tracing system will commence for that case.

Children are not required to provide evidence of any negative test on return to school.

Am I required to self-isolate if I am identified as a close contact of someone with coronavirus?

All adults who have been fully vaccinated, or those under 18, are no longer required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of someone with coronavirus.

Advice will be offered for these individuals to minimise any risks and stay safe.

There may be certain circumstances where fully vaccinated and under 18s contacts may still be asked to self-isolate by the Test, Trace, Protect service – further advice will be provided in this instance.

Maintaining distancing is very difficult for younger children and those with learning difficulties - how can we expect to keep them from mixing with their peers and teaching staff?

Schools are expected to reduce close interactions between all individuals wherever possible. Schools should also encourage older learners to maintain distancing where possible.

All staff should adhere to the distancing measures as far as possible. However, we recognise that this may not always be possible, for example when working with younger learners.

Rhyl Journal:

Can supervised children’s activities take place?

Yes. There is no limit on the number of children and young children that can attend these activities, but organisers should be mindful of the space available.

Organisers have a duty to take all reasonable measures to ensure that these activities take place in a way that minimises exposure to coronavirus.

Should schools and colleges be holding parents’ evenings and open evenings?

Local authorities, employers and schools must protect people from harm.

This includes taking reasonable measures to protect staff, learners and others from COVID-19 within the setting.

It is a legal requirement that schools/settings should undertake a risk assessment, as set out in our guidance.

This will enable consideration to be given to the additional risks and control measures to put in place if events such as parents evenings and open evenings are to be held.

What is the current guidance on use of face coverings in schools?

Welsh Government no longer recommend the routine use of face coverings in the classroom for staff or learners.

Schools may wish to encourage their use in areas where there is likely to be more social mixing, such as in communal areas.

As part of their risk assessment process, schools will be able to decide whether the use of face coverings for staff or secondary learners is appropriate based on their own circumstances, supported by public health officials, and in discussion with local authorities.

Face coverings should continue to be worn by learners in secondary schools when travelling on dedicated school transport.

This aligns with the continuing requirement for all passengers aged 11 years and over to wear face coverings on public transport. This does not apply to younger children in primary schools and in early years settings.

If anyone wishes to wear a face covering for personal reasons anywhere in the school they should be permitted to do so.

This may help support their wider well-being, reduce anxiety and provide additional reassurance for some individuals alongside other mitigating measures.

Visitors to the school should check the school’s policy on use of coverings for visitors.