School reopening announcement incoherent and July Provision plans incomplete

12 June 2020

-Reopening plans lack clarity and need to be backed by capital measures. 

-No clarity on what will happen if schools refuse to take part in Summer Provision

The Minister for Education needs to clarify what will happen if schools refuse to take part in the Summer Education Programme, said Labour Education Spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and the Government’s plan to reopen schools is incoherent given the uncertainty around social distancing guidelines.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“The announcement today on school reopening is incoherent and simply causes more confusion. The lack of clarity around the one metre/two metre rule renders the Ministers announcement today virtually useless and just causes more confusion. How is a principal or school administrator supposed to plan for reopening in little over two months when the Minister is saying two different things at the same time?

“Once again what has been said today will cause chaos for parents who have no idea if they’ll be able to go back to work full time or if they will need to be at home several days a week with their children for blended learning.

“And the Summer Programme is dependent on schools having to register their interest to take part. However, the Minister has failed to clarify what will happen if the schools refuse to enrol.

“I welcome the statement on July Provision despite the fact that it has been announced so late in the day and on a Friday evening. However the plan is incomplete.

“Many schools who previously provided this service have indicated that they will not be able to offer a programme this summer because the announcement is so late.

“Any reopening proposals for the autumn also need to be backed by a capital programme to fund any measures that need to be taken. Labour have called for a moratorium on teacher losses for the coming year as schools are still losing teachers.

“There is also no opportunity for the Opposition to question the Minister for Education on these proposals in the Dail next week which is alarming given the amount of questions that remain unanswered.

“Education is vital to the post Covid recovery of the country and uncertainty and confusion around schools reopening will impact on parents ability to return to work.”

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