NPHET risk assessment needed before reopening of schools

02 January 2021
  • Preference is to reopen schools but only if safe to do so.

  • Government should agree to abide by NPHET advice on reopening schools.

Labour Education spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has called for NPHET to carry out a public health risk assessment on the reopening schools from 11th January and for government to agree to abide by the advice given.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:
“The thousands of Covid-19 cases now being reported is deeply worrying for everyone. The decision to delay reopening schools until 11th January is welcome. However the disease is rampant in the community so we need to properly assess the public health risks to staff, students and the wider community.

“I am calling on the government to ask NPHET to urgently carry out a public health risk assessment on whether schools can safety reopen on January 11th.

“The government should also agree to abide by the public health advice given. Based on the level of disease in the community many schools may also struggle to get sufficient staff back into schools in a weeks time.

“Before Christmas I had called for the Minister to seriously consider closing schools a few days early on Friday 18th December. She didn’t take on board that suggestion but I hope she will listen now and ask NPHET to advise.

“The same advice should also apply to childcare facilities however there must be care options put in place for essential workers.

“I do want to emphasise that schools remaining open is the preferred option once it can be done safely. It is disadvantaged students and children who suffer most from closures.

“There may be mid-way measures possible between all open and all closed that will need to be considered but the priority should be a public health risk assessment from NPHET.”

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