Carmarthenshire County Council’s Director of Education and Children’s Services, Gareth Morgans, has written to parents to inform them of the arrangements for the start of the new term.

Schools will continue to work closely with the local authority to closely monitor the impact of the new COVID-19 variant on learners’ education and wellbeing.

He confirmed the main aim is for learners to have face to face learning in schools wherever possible.

But, he adds that schools will have to react quickly and make some key decisions at short notice during the coming days and weeks.

Mr Morgans also thanked staff for their continued hard work, as well as parents/guardians for their support and co-operation.

He said: "As we return to schools for the new year, I would like to thank our school staff for their on-going commitment and hard work, meeting the challenges of coronavirus and continuing to provide high quality education at the same time, whether in person or remotely.

"I would also like to thank you (parents/guardians) for your support during this challenging time and our learners for responding so well to all situations.”

Face coverings will continue to be required by secondary aged learners in all indoor areas, including classrooms, where physical distance cannot be maintained.

The council has provided face coverings to all secondary learners, and it is important they take them to school.

Staff and learners of secondary age and above are urged to continue regular lateral flow testing three times a week and report the results.

The Welsh government has announced that if a person showing no symptoms has a positive lateral flow test, they will no longer be advised to have a follow-up PCR test to confirm the result.

However, they must follow the self-isolation guidance.

Children identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 can continue to attend school or childcare.

However, children aged five to 17 years old (as well as vaccinated adults) identified as a close contact of a positive case are now required to take lateral flow tests every day for seven days.

Tests should be taken before they arrive at school each day. These individuals do not need to self-isolate unless they have a positive lateral flow test or develop symptoms.

The position on children under five years old remains unchanged - they are not required to self-isolate or test as contacts.

Anyone with Covid-19 symptoms should not attend school but must book a PCR test and isolate until their results are received.

Information will continue to be shared with parents via their schools’ usual communication channels.