No guarantee schools would remain open under highest level of restrictions
Education minister Norma Foley said the decision would depend on public health advice at the time.
The education minister could not guarantee schools would remain open if the country moved to the highest level of restrictions.
Norma Foley said the decision would depend on public health advice at the time.
Under the original guidance of the Government’s plan for living with Covid-19, schools were to remain open. However, that has since been amended.
Ms Foley said she would follow the public health advice.
The minister also said that there are no plans to extend the mid-term break.
Public health advice at every step of the way is supporting the reopening of schoolsNorma Foley
“We are seeing very clearly that there are no plans to extend the mid-term break, and equally so in any of our levels it is the priority of Government to maintain and keep the schools open, and at Level 5 that would be the one level where we would look at the public health advice,” she told RTE.
“Public health advice at every step of the way is supporting the reopening of schools.
“The entire objective here is that schools would certainly be open and they would be open safely.
“I’ve made it clear that everything we do in schools has been underpinned by the best public advice.”
She said that the reopening of schools has been important for society, adding that to date, some 4,000 schools have reopened and 1,000 staff and one million students have returned to education.
“That is largely due to the superb commitment of community schools,” the minister added.
“I think the public health advice at every step of the way, at every level, is always the primary concern for education and childcare.
“It specifically says that it will be on the basis of public health advice at the time and I think that is right and proper.
“The department was very open in making available the advice and studies we have received to date which shows a very positive experience in our schools and are not drivers in terms of Covid-19.
“There has been no significant change in the proportion of total weekly cases for school-going children, either before or after schools opened. We have been clear and unambiguous in the fact that schools reopening has gone very well.”