Our primary objective is to minimise the risk of harm both directly from COVID-19 but also indirectly by ensuring provision for vulnerable people and maximising capacity in the NHS and in other work areas with an important role in the response to the outbreak.
The scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 is clear. It is imperative that, as far as possible, we minimise social contact. This means if children can stay safely in their home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.
Every child who can be safely cared for at home should be cared for at home, even children of critical workers.
But, where there is no safe alternative, hub provision is available in schools or other settings for children of critical workers, as well as for vulnerable learners, to ensure that the NHS and other critical sectors are as well-resourced as possible. This is in line with the approach taken in other countries, including France and South Korea. We are hugely grateful for the contribution that school staff are making to the fight against COVID-19 through this role.
The number of children attending hubs in schools and other settings is substantially smaller than the number who would be in school or other settings normally. This reduces social mixing and contributes to slowing transmission of the disease. In settings that remain open, Public Health Wales guidance is being followed, encouraging frequent and thorough hand washing by staff and children using soap and water, and frequent cleaning and disinfection of hand contact surfaces.
Further guidance on provision for children of critical workers and for vulnerable children is available.