Consultation needed on any decision to partially reopen primary schools

20 April 2020

Labour spokesperson on Education, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin T.D, has said that teachers’ unions, staff reps and parents associations must be involved in any decision by Government on the potential partial reopening of primary schools.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“Any decisions made regarding the partial reopening of primary schools must be done in conjunction with teachers unions, as well as other staff reps and parent associations.

“There was no sense that comments made by the Health Minister in a media interview yesterday, just as the Easter break was coming to an end, had been flagged with these groups.

“Irish classrooms are among the most crowded in Europe so there are obvious social distancing concerns here which set us apart from Denmark, where primary schools have begun reopening.

“The average Danish class size stands at 21, compared to 25 in an Irish classroom.

“As well as public health concerns that need to be taken into account, there are also issues for primary teachers regarding access to childcare.

“If teachers are to return to the classroom in the near future, there needs to be proper childcare arrangements in place for their own children.

“Teachers are more than willing to play their part in this crisis but this type of mixed messaging from Government is not helping.”

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