SCHOOLS will remain open as Wales moves into the “delay” phase in containing the coronavirus, the Welsh Government has announced.
The advice will change from Friday (Mar 13), with people who become unwell being asked to self-isolate for seven days.
Chief medical officer Dr Frank Atherton said the trajectory of the virus was now “quite clear” and the challenge remained preparing for a significant number of cases in Wales.
Dr Atherton said: “Wales was now really in the delay phase of the virus and it would lead to some inconvenience for people not going to work or school.
“We need to reduce the demand on the health and social care system so it can prepare for peak which may be May or June.”
SCHOOLS OPEN FOR NOW
Health Minister Vaughan Gething said closing schools was not an appropriate option for now.
He told a press conference at 3.30pm Thursday (Mar 12): “Ministers have had clear advice that closing schools now is not an appropriate step to take. For now, the advice and guidance is very clear. Schools should stay open.
“To be effective measure schools would have to be closed for a significant amount of time.
“If we close schools, what impact does that have on parents? Parents could be nurses, doctors or the police. We need to keep key workers in work.
“Another point is, if parents can’t look after them then it’s likely that older members of the family or grandparents will be. Older people are the people we want to protect now and in the future.
“Furthermore, in the Easter break, lots of children will be with each other anyway. The value in closing schools is low.
“Ministers are making choices guided by the best possible evidence and scientific advice.
“Members of governments around the UK need to take a responsible approach and take steps where there is no medical advice to do so within the four nations of the UK.”
Six new cases of coronavirus have been identified in Wales, bringing the total to 25 at the time of going to press. (7pm, March 12)
785 people in Wales have been tested for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). 760 results were negative, and 25 results were positive.
ROBUST MEASURES IN PLACE
Dr Robin Howe, Incident Director for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak response at Public Health Wales told The Herald that he was certain that “robust infection control measures in place.”
“The public can be assured that Wales and the whole of the UK is prepared for these types of incidents. Working with our partners in Wales and the UK, we have implemented our planned response, with robust infection control measures in place to protect the health of the public.
“We would encourage people to check the advice for returning travellers, which includes guidance for those returning from Italy, China, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Macau, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Iran.
“Members of the public can help protect themselves and others by always carrying tissues, and using them to catch coughs or sneezes. They should bin the tissue, and to kill the germs, wash their hands with soap and water, or use a sanitiser gel. This is the best way to slow the spread of most germs, including Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
“Public Health Wales’ trained scientists are now conducting the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnostic test in Wales. Over 90 per cent of the individuals who have been tested in Wales have been offered testing in their own home, making it as convenient as possible for them, as well as protecting our ambulance and hospital resources for those who need it most. We are not able to comment on individual cases for reasons of patient confidentiality.”
Official updates on the virus in Wales will now be given at 11:00 daily.
There are now 596 confirmed cases in the UK, up from 456 on Wednesday, and two more deaths, of people with underlying health conditions in London and Essex, taking the total to 10.
RNIB brings LEGO® Braille Bricks toolkits to children in Carmarthenshire
CHILDREN with vision impairment in Carmarthenshire are set to benefit from LEGO® Braille Bricks toolkits thanks to the Royal National Institute of Blind People’s (RNIB) work with the LEGO Foundation.
The toolkits have so far been distributed to Ceredigion Council, Swansea Council, Conwy Sensory Support Service, Carmarthenshire Council, Bridgend Council, Neath Port Talbot Council and Rhondda Cynon Taf.
LEGO Braille Bricks introduce a new way to help children with vision impairment develop tactile skills and learn the braille system. The kits are made up of approximately 300 LEGO bricks that are specially moulded so that the studs on top reflect individual letters and numbers in the Braille alphabet. The bricks also feature printed letters, numbers and symbols so that they can be used simultaneously by sighted peers, classmates, and teachers in a collaborative and inclusive way.
The kits are being brought to the UK by RNIB, which worked with the LEGO Foundation to develop and test the Braille Bricks and will distribute toolkits to schools and home-schooled children in Carmarthenshire from September.
RNIB Director of Services, David Clarke said: “We are excited to bring the LEGO Braille Brick toolkits to UK classrooms to help children learn how to read and write braille in a fun and engaging way. Braille is an important tool and these inclusive toolkits will make a real difference to children with vision impairment, allowing them to play and interact with their sighted classmates.”
RNIB has also trained teachers and support staff working with children with vision impairment in the teaching concept. Although the toolkit is intended as a playful introduction to braille for younger children aged from four up, it has also proven to have learning opportunities and benefits for children in secondary school.
Senior Play & Health Specialist at the LEGO Foundation, Stine Storm, said: “We are thrilled to launch the first wave of the LEGO Braille Bricks program and get the toolkits into the hands of children. With LEGO Braille Bricks, students and educators can tailor their activities in countless different ways to meet their needs and learning goals in a fun and inclusive manner. The possibilities for learning through play are endless, and we look forward to seeing how LEGO Braille Bricks can inspire children of all ages along their journey to learn braille.”
The UK is one of several countries that LEGO Braille Bricks will launch in this year. The toolkits, or sets of bricks, are not on general sale and can only be ordered by heads of service from local sensory services. Heads of service can also nominate an education professional from schools for children with vision impairment, or a QTVI (qualified teacher of children and young people with vision impairment), to place an order on behalf of their area. For more information visit www.rnib.org.uk/legobraillebricks
Police appeal for witnesses after 20-year-old pedestrian tragically killed on A40
DYFED-POWYS POLICE is appealing for witnesses to a fatal road traffic collision on the A40 west of Carmarthen on Saturday (Sept 26) in which a 20-year-old man, a pedestrian, lost his life.
The police have asked The Pembrokeshire Herald to publicise this appeal.
A spokesman for the police told this newspaper: “At around 9.40pm, a white VW Transporter was in collision with a pedestrian on the A40 westbound, near the junction of Llangynog, Carmarthen.
“The pedestrian, a 20-year-old male, died as a result of his injuries.
“It appears the pedestrian had left his vehicle, a black Seat, following a single-vehicle collision further along the westbound carriageway shortly before.
The police have asked that if anyone has any information on either or both collisions, or may have been travelling along the A40 at the relevant time, please contact the serious collision investigation unit, quoting reference DPP-20200926-339.
This can be done by email: email@example.com, by phone on 101 or by text: If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.
Tir Coed build outdoor classroom for Cross Hands Primary
The local charity Tir Coed teamed up with Cross Hands Primary School to design and install a locally
grown woodland shelter to enable primary school pupils to benefit from outdoor lessons-even when
the rain pours!
Last year Cross Hands Primary School received funding from Carmarthenshire is Kind for their
intergenerational project. The project brought the schoolchildren together with older people in the
community. Through intergenerational activities, everyone involved increases social connectedness,
reduces social isolation, learns from one another and has a great time!
Before the lockdown, Tir Coed was contracted to lead a group mainly made up of parents from the
school on a shelter-building course. The attendees would gain knowledge and skills and the children
and the older people would be able to use the shelter, a third generation now included in this
fantastic project. The plans, however, had to change due to restrictions and in an effort to have it
ready for the children when they returned to school, three intrepid Activity Leaders braved the wet
August weather to build the beautiful shelter .
Studies have shown that being in the outdoors significantly reduces the risk of spreading the Corona
Virus. With this addition to their already impressive outdoor area, it is hoped that more learning can
take place outside the classroom. Deputy Head, Emma Walters said, “It looks amazing! I am very
impressed with the shelter and I cannot thank Tir Coed enough for organising this. Additional
covered space in the outdoors will mean that we can take more learning into our lovely nature
If you would like to find out more about the work of Tir Coed or have a project you would like our help
with you can contact Nancy, the Carmarthenshire Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org
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