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Secondary schools 'move online' in Wales

March 19, 2021

Original Article: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-55265317

Kirsty Williams said it was part of a "national effort to reduce transmission of coronavirus".

However, the Children's Commissioner for Wales has criticised the decision as disruptive to education.

A number of counties have also said primary schools will close earlier, including Cardiff and Swansea.

Ms Williams said it was important to take a "clear, national direction" to ease the pressure from schools, colleges, local councils and parents and carers.

"Every day, we are seeing more and more people admitted to hospital with coronavirus symptoms," she added.

"The virus is putting our health service under significant and sustained pressure and it is important we all make a contribution to reduce its transmission."

She said the advice from Wales' Chief Medical Officer, Dr Frank Atherton, was to implement the online learning plan "as soon as is practicable".

"Having spoken to local education leaders, I am confident that schools and colleges have online learning provision in place," added Ms Williams.

"This will also be important in ensuring that students are at home during this time, learning and staying safe.

"Critically, and this is very important, children should be at home.

"This is not an early Christmas holiday, please do everything you can to minimise your contact with others."

The latest data shows the infection rate across Wales is averaging more than 370 cases for 100,000 people, with 17% of tests now coming back positive.

It means the reproduction (R) number in Wales has now reached 1.27, with infections doubling in 11.7 days.

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