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Foley confirms plans for ‘full return’ of schools




The Department of Education is preparing for a full return of schools this fall, Minister Norma Foley has confirmed.

“We are in constant communication with public health specialists before the new school year and can confirm that we are preparing for a full return of schools in late August and early September,” she said in a statement.

“Public Health has stated that the new variants of the disease do not change the infection prevention and control measures required in schools.

“Evidence available from the operation of schools during Covid-19 to date shows that schools are in low-risk environments due to infection prevention and control measures in place,” said the Minister of Education.

Ms. Foley today brought a memo to the Cabinet confirming that plans are available to support the full reopening of schools in time for the start of the new school year.

Schools have been advised that when they reopen in the new term, they “will continue to rely on the additional resources needed to provide these measures”.

Recent coronavirus histories

Minister Foley said: “Providing CO2 monitors to every school will be an important tool to keep our schools safe and in addition to the mitigation measures already in place, our staff and students can be safe to be back to safe environments in our schools. “

The department has procured a number of mobile monitors which will be distributed to schools in August and September – between two and 20 at primary level and between 20 and 35 at post-primary level depending on the size of the school.

Schools are advised to have windows as fully open as possible when classrooms are not in use, such as during holidays and at the end of each school day, and partially open when classrooms are in use.

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland said it would welcome Minister Foley to announce the provision of CO2 monitors for schools, which he said he had called for “since last November”.

In a statement, TUI Secretary General Michael Gillespie said that “in engagements with the Department in the coming weeks we will continue to raise the concerns of our members, particularly with regard to those who are pregnant or may have underlying health issues.

“All protections must be strictly observed and the health and safety of all in school communities must remain essential,” Mr Gillespie added.




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