Education committee must meet to resolve shambolic schools reopening

08 September 2021

Labour education spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has slammed the Minister’s handling of schools reopening as shambolic, showcasing a Department out of touch with reality. Deputy Ó Ríordáin has called for the education committee to be reconvened this Friday to resolve the matter with Ministers Foley and Donnelly.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“I have written to the education committee today to ask that we meet no later than this Friday to try and find some solutions to the shambolic reopening of schools throughout the country. Neither the Department nor the HSE have engaged with schools who are left in the position of attempting to awkwardly manage contact tracing and avoid outbreaks locally.

“My office has been inundated with contact from Principals and others in school communities up and down the country who are dealing with little else other than Covid. Schools are being forced to make their own decisions on exclusions from the classroom. There is a communication vacuum from the HSE because the system is entirely overloaded and they can’t get through to anyone. As well as the obvious public health risk this poses, it is also taking precious time away from academic and extracurricular activities in schools.

“The Government should have seen this coming. We have already lived through this once and there should have been genuine engagement between the Minister and school communities. With the added transmissibility of the Delta variant, schools should have been better equipped with improved ventilation systems and smaller class sizes. The school community cannot be left out at sea to fend for themselves. The committee must meet with the Minister present to urgently resolve this for school communities and students.”

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