Coronavirus: 'Be kind' to yourselves, home-school parents told

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Image caption,
The classroom has moved to the home for most parents during the crisis

Parents have been urged to "be kind to yourself and your children" during the coronavirus pandemic, by Wales' education minister.

Many are home-schooling as schools are closed to all but the children of key workers and vulnerable children.

Ms Williams said parents should give themselves "a break" and "not be too harsh" on themselves.

She also said the virus could peak at different times in different areas, but it was too early to make predictions.

The minister was speaking at the Welsh Government's daily news conference, at which she said just three-and-a-half thousand children were currently attending school, around 1% of the school population in Wales.

It means many parents are juggling home-working with supporting their children doing schoolwork and lessons at home.

"I think it's really important in this time to give yourself a break as a parent and not be too harsh on yourself," she said.

"Where schools are able they are providing support on an online basis and I know many children, my own included, have come home with lots and lots of worksheets to complete.

"And my advice to parents is, be kind to yourself and to your children.

"These aren't normal times and I know that you will do your best to carry on providing meaningful activities to your children at this time.

"But please don't stress about it, do what you can and do what is right for your children."

Image caption,
Kirsty Williams: "The actions of the Welsh people are making a difference"

Ms Williams said some schools would stay open for vulnerable children and those of key workers over the Easter holiday period.

She said free school meals would also continue over the Easter holidays for disadvantaged children.

Ms Williams reiterated the key government message for people to follow the guidelines on isolation and social distancing, and said those actions were making a difference.

She said different peaks in different parts of Wales should be anticipated.

While the south east Wales has seen a disproportionately high number of cases so far, the Llanelli AM and deputy minister Lee Waters said earlier that Hywel Dda health board's chief executive had told him it is expecting Coronavirus to peak in west Wales in early June.

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Ms Williams told journalists the outbreak could peak at different times in different parts of Wales but it was "too early" to make accurate predictions about what will happen.

"It's absolutely clear from advice we are receiving from the chief medical officer that the actions of the Welsh people are making a difference," she said.

"The sacrifices and the inconveniences that people are putting up with at that time is flattening the curve, and it is helping to save lives and it is ensuring that our NHS can respond.

"We will have to wait and see whether the continuation of these measures - and it's absolutely crucial that people carry on doing what they can to socially distance and isolate themselves - will be having an effect on the peak of the disease progression in Wales but we're also absolutely clear that at this stage it's too early to be able to make accurate predictions about what will happen next."

"And it should be anticipated that as the disease progresses we could see different peaks in different parts of Wales."

When Health Minister Vaughan Gething was asked on BBC Radio Wales, a few hours earlier, when the peak for the whole of Wales will arrive, he said: "We still expect that we're going to have a difficult period of weeks and a peak may come from April into May or maybe later."