OTHER parts of society will close before the Government shut schools again, minister confirms.

Pupils have returned to classrooms this term after months at home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, in the space of a few short weeks, staff and pupils returning to schools in Flintshire and Wrexham have tested positive for the virus – sparking concerns amongst parents and the wider community.

Keeping schools open has been a topic that has divided opinions across the length of Wales in recent weeks, but the Government say the harm of being away from the classroom outweighs the benefits.

Health and social services minister Vaughan Gething said: “It is very clearly the priority of the Welsh Government to keep schools open. We know that because children and young people are less likely to have coronavirus, less likely to suffer harm and less likely to be infectious.

“We also know the very real consequences for children and young people if schools close and the impact that will have on their mental health and wellbeing. We also know that in lockdown that not every child thrived with distance learning and that poses a longer-term impact on educational and life prospects.

“We have been clear that keeping schools open will be a priority for the Gov and we will shut other areas of activity to make sure schools can open.”

The Minister says that keeping schools open may see clusters and groups needing to isolate but stresses it is important that those groups are kept as small as possible to avoid the need for a national school closure being needed again.

First Minister Mark Drakeford also expressed his desire on Friday at the previous coronavirus press conference to keep schools open and avoid further disruption to education.