Covid-19 is a source of “extreme stress and anxiety” for teachers in underlying health and those living with vulnerable people, the Irish Teachers Union (TUI) said.
The union criticized the Ministry of Education for its lack of involvement in the concern about the coronavirus, saying it failed to “address a serious recent problem.”
The union is again questioning why businesses and non-essential services are shut down while schools remain open at level 5.
The union said concerns about the definition of “close contact” remained unresolved.
yesterday,Vulnerable students in a class with a Special Needs Assistant (SNA) who tested positive for Covid-19 were not considered intimate contact by HSE, even without wearing a mask. became.
Cork Secondary School’s SNA, which tested positive two weeks ago, taught that week. Before being infected with a virus.
In a statement this afternoon, TUI General Secretary Michael Gillespie said: “A pandemic is a source of extreme stress and anxiety for members. Many members have serious underlying health problems or share a household with others. People with underlying health problems.
“The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases has skyrocketed in recent weeks, and as a result, the potential risk to school staff and students needs to be reassessed.”
Gillespie said the lack of resources has been a hindrance to schools during the pandemic, as well as delays in testing the Covid-19.
“We are dissatisfied with our efforts to address our concerns.
“TUI is already seeking a detailed explanation of why it is safe for schools to remain open at level 5 if other parts of society are effectively blocked,” said Gillsepie. I am.
“We insist on the consistency, clarity and certainty of our members. We have said that we are always guided by public health advice, but a detailed rationale based on the latest evidence is a necessity. ..
“Teachers are also concerned about the definition of“ close contact ”in schools. This adds to stress and uncertainty.
“In addition, delays in testing and receiving test results make the day-to-day operation of the school very difficult due to a shortage of teachers and substitute teachers in the system,” says Gillespie.
Gillespie reiterated the union’s call for audits of all schools to ensure that they had the funds to comply with public health guidelines during a pandemic.
Gillespie’s statement argued that lack of funding undermined schools’ ability to respond to the coronavirus, especially at the second level.
Gillespie said: “It is unacceptable that many school buildings were largely unfit for purpose before the Covid-19 challenge took place.
“The sector is chronically underfunded at the second level. Last month’s latest OECD figures show Ireland’s spending is the lowest of the 36 countries for which figures are offered, with OECD and Europe It shows that it is well below the average.
“This made reopening schools under the new restrictions even more difficult,” he said.
According to the General Secretary, winter will pose additional challenges to schools. Outdated heating and ventilation issues remain unresolved.
“As we move into colder climates, ventilation and heating problems become more serious. Many schools, especially those based in old buildings, need new ventilation solutions and monitors to indicate when air exchange is needed. Again, we need to provide the resources we need, “said Gillespie.
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