Phased reopening for local schools

Welsh Government has revealed details about how children will start to return to school in Wales. From Monday 29 June, a series of sessions called ‘Check In, Catch Up – Prepare for Summer and September’ will take place to prepare pupils for a phased return to normal lessons in September, and will be carried out with full social distancing and well-being procedures in place. Year groups will be split into cohorts with staggered starts, lessons and breaks, and the phased approach will mean that each session will eventually feature around a third of all pupils. The smaller groups will enable social distancing to take place while providing secure, dedicated time with teachers and classmates, including online and personalised classroom experiences designed to get children and teachers ready for the new September term. The summer term will be extended by a week to end on 27 July, and the autumn half-term break will be expanded to two weeks instead of one – more details to follow.

Higher education and childcare providers

Welsh Government guidance on further and higher education institutions is expected to be published next week with information on facility management and logistical arrangements for buildings, resources, cleaning regimes, transport and more. Guidance for childcare providers will also be published which will support them in increasing the numbers of children in attendance alongside schools.

Pandemic measures for buses

Public transport company First Cymru has introduced measures across all of its services designed to help keep passengers safe and limit potential exposure to the Covid-19 coronavirus. With a reduced capacity of 25 per cent so that passengers can remain two metres apart, windows will be left open to ensure a constant flow of air and sashes have been placed on seats to indicate where passengers can sit. Eating and drinking will not be allowed, and passengers will need to wash their hands or use sanitiser both before and after using a service.

Public transport during the outbreak

Key workers are able to travel for free on public transport thanks to a Welsh Government initiative. Fare-paying passengers are being asked to use cashless payments wherever possible in order to limit the risk of exposure and help protect drivers and passengers alike, and to only make essential journeys for items such as food or medicine. Timetables for local services can be found at the First Cymru, Easyway, Peyton Travel and Stagecoach websites.

Lockdown leads to increased calls

Customer service staff at Bridgend County Borough Council have handled 28,710 calls since the start of the lockdown – an increase of 12,000 compared to the same period last year. With a further 3,300 contacts via the council’s chatbot, 6,300 emails and hundreds of requests for information received and dealt with via social media, the total number of lockdown interactions is more than 40,000.

Committee meetings resume

Arrangements are in place for committee meetings to resume at the council. Members and staff will participate remotely in the meetings and they will be available to view on the website after the meeting. The first meeting is a Development Control Committee on Thursday 4 June, and plans are also in place for a Cabinet meeting to take place later in the month. For more details, visit the council’s online calendar of meetings.

Visiting a recycling centre

Anyone who is planning an essential trip to a community recycling centre is reminded to check the ‘odds and evens’ number plate schedule at the council’s recycling page to make sure they are selecting the right day for access, and to take note of the traffic management arrangements for each of the sites.