Learners return to schools across Pembrokeshire from today (Monday) following a mammoth effort behind the scenes to prepare.
Fourteen thousand signs, 1,500 litres of hand sanitiser and 1,270 paper towel holders are among the items that have been distributed to schools by Pembrokeshire County Council.
A huge amount of work has been going on for several weeks to ensure pupils are welcomed back in as safe a manner as possible and in line with Welsh Government social distancing and Covid-19 hygiene guidelines, including routine health and safety checks at schools and testing water supplies.
Staff from different departments across the Local Authority have worked with a dedicated team of 30+ at Thornton to source and supply schools with essential items.
Fourteen thousand bi-lingual signs of 70 different designs – such as handwashing messages, canteen specific signs, floor stickers marking social distancing etc – have been distributed to schools.
The signs have been designed by PCC’s graphic team and printed by the Council’s Signs Unit.
The work the length and breadth of Pembrokeshire has included sourcing, delivering and installing:
The teams have also decommissioned 556 hand driers and 86 water dispensers and assisted schools to remove furniture to make space for social distancing.
Thirty-one storage containers have been delivered to schools to enable them to store school furniture and equipment.
Tens of thousands of PPE items have been distributed to schools, including the 13 hub schools that have operated for the children of key workers throughout the lockdown period.
Welsh Government guidelines advise that in general PPE is not required when undertaking routine educational activities in classroom or school settings, but there may be a need for it if staff are involved in washing, toileting, or first aid with pupils.
The effort to prepare schools has been hailed by the Council Leader, Cllr David Simpson.
He said: “The amount of work that has been going on behind the scenes to ensure we can welcome pupils back to schools warmly and safely is remarkable.
“Staff from across the Council have worked together and extremely closely with our schools to ensure that everything schools need, they get.
“Things will look different in some ways when pupils return with measures like social distancing in place but I hope that the huge efforts of everyone over the last few weeks helps bring a level of reassurance that everything that can be done is being done to make schools as safe as they possibly can be for our learners.”
Cllr Guy Woodham, the Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, added: “The teamwork to prepare schools to welcome back our learners has been fantastic to see.
“The dedication from the staff in schools and the many Council departments involved in this huge effort has been incredibly heartening.
“Things will look different, things will be different within our schools but we are preparing for the new normal for our learners with the safety of pupils and staff at the heart of everything we have been doing.”