Primary teachers’ union, the INTO, wants the Government to delay the re-opening of schools after the Christmas holiday.
Most schools are set to re-open their doors next Wednesday, January 6. The union has said schools should remain shut until Monday, January 11 at the earliest because of the “alarming increase” in Covid cases.
INTO general secretary, John Boyle, sent a letter on the issue to Minister for Education Norma Foley and wants it discussed at today’s Cabinet meeting.
He said he believed education partners, such as teacher unions and school managers, would support changed arrangements on public health grounds in the interest of securing safer schools for pupils, staff and their families.
Mr Boyle said the INTO remained strongly committed to supporting its 42,000 members in safe workplaces, as they endeavoured to teach and support the wellbeing of pupils at school.
“However, it is now becoming very clear that the ability of schools to operate normally is likely to be seriously impaired due to the higher numbers of staff and students who will need to self-isolate and/or restrict movement in the weeks following Christmas.”
The general secretary said a number of issues must be borne in mind by the Government when making an informed judgement regarding the most appropriate date for reopening schools next month.
He says an extension of school closure would would give school boards of management (BOMs) time to put enhanced measures in place prior to the beginning of term.