Schools in Powys should remain open until the agreed end of term date – unless they experience a public health reason for urgent closure – the county council has said.

Powys County Council’s intention is for schools in the county to remain open for learners until the last day of term – Friday, December 18.

With speculation increasing in the media about end of term dates for schools across Wales, the council has given the issue significant consideration on whether it could support an earlier closure. It has engaged public health partners as part of that process.

However, the council has concluded that schools in Powys should remain fully open for all those of statutory school age until Friday, December 18.

Cllr Phyl Davies, Cabinet Member for Education and Property, said: “This has been an extremely challenging time for our school leaders, school staff, learners and parents and I would like to thank them for their efforts in preventing the spread of Covid-19 within our schools.

“We understand that schools and parents are asking about the end of term and it is something we have been discussing with a range of partners, including education and health partners.

“Following these discussions, we have concluded that schools in Powys should remain open until the last day of term, Friday, December 18.

“There are several reasons why want our schools to remain open until this date including the need to maintain an orderly approach for our learners, in well-managed environments, through to Christmas and the need to support many learners who have seen school as an important part of maintaining a positive outlook over the last few months.

“Unless a school experiences a public health reason for urgent closure, then our schools should remain open.

“We are expecting teaching to happen only at school unless learners are away because of a Covid-19 related closure.

“We know that a vaccination programme is due to be rolled out across Powys but this will not arrive in time to affect schools before Christmas.

“We therefore urge all our young people, staff and parents to do all they can to prevent the spread of the virus within Powys by limiting contact with others whilst maintain social distancing as well as wearing face coverings and washing their hands regularly.

“I also urge families to keep unwell children at home, even if symptoms seem very mild, and follow medical advice.

“We will continue to work closely with our schools and will explore how the last week of term can be organised to minimise the risks of infection spreading in our schools.”