Neath Port Talbot Council is reminding parents that while education in Wales will now continue with online learning until at least February half term unless coronavirus cases fall, its schools will remain open for children of critical workers and vulnerable learners.

Also, the council’s special schools will remain open, subject to risk assessment, as will the council’s Learning Support Centres. These settings may need to modify their opening arrangements to respond to local circumstances.

In a letter to parents and carers across Neath Port Talbot, the council’s Director of Education, Leisure and Lifelong Learning, Aled Evans, said: “Schools remain safe settings. They operate under scrutinised risk assessments and apply robust control measures based on the four key behaviours of hand washing, social distancing, ventilation and wearing of face coverings.

“These behaviours remain effective in reducing the spread of the new variant of Covid-19 if adhered to correctly. However, we also know education settings being open can contribute to wider social mixing and given infection rates remain high in NPT, we welcome the decision to migrate to online learning.

“Whilst we all have a responsibility to stay at home wherever possible and adhere to the restrictions placed by Welsh Government to suppress infection rates, we also have a responsibility to ensure that learning continues to light even our darkest of days.”