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Virus fears Nphet need to carry out risk assessment on schools before reopening, Labour say

Labour’s Education spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin is calling on the government to ask Nphet to carry out a risk assessment on schools

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The Labour Party said they want schools to reopen, but only if it's safe to do so

The Labour Party said they want schools to reopen, but only if it's safe to do so

The Labour Party said they want schools to reopen, but only if it's safe to do so

The Labour Party is calling on the government to ask Nphet to carry out a public health risk assessment on the reopening of schools from January 11.

The party said its preference is for schools to reopen, however, only if it is safe to do so.

TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, who is Labour’s spokesperson for education, said the decision from the government to delay the reopening of schools until January 11 is welcome, but that there needs to be a proper assessment of the public health risk to staff, students and the wider community.

“The thousands of Covid-19 cases now being reported is deeply worrying for everyone,” he said.

“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 week's time."

The deputy added that before Christmas he called on Education Minister Norma Foley to consider closing schools a few days early on December 18. She didn’t take this suggestion on board and he said he hopes she will listen to him now and ask Nphet’s advice.

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

“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."

On Wednesday, Micheal Martin announced that Ireland would be in a “full scale” Level 5 Lockdown for at least a month.

It was also announced that in order to give extra time to limit the Covid-19 surge being seen, that schools wouldn’t reopen until January 11.

However, there has been no indication given by government that this will be further extended.

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