Long term, substantial investment and innovative new ways of doing things will be required if schools are to reopen – and stay open – in the coming weeks, according to Gary Gannon, the Social Democrats spokesperson for Education.

Deputy Gannon said:

“The past number of months have been extremely difficult for students and parents and it’s understandable that they want to see a clear pathway to the safe reopening of our schools. We’ve known that this situation is coming for months, and the Government cannot simply continue to make it up as it goes along and has now just one opportunity to get it right.

“Renewed warnings by the ASTI that classrooms could be left empty in September over teachers’ safety fears are a stark reminder of the complex challenges that lie ahead for the Government in reopening schools.

“Just hours after the Taoiseach committed to reopening our schools, Kieran Christie, the ASTI General Secretary, told his members that there must be no compromise on safety and said teachers were extremely worried about returning to work.

“Hopefully these comments will help concentrate Government minds ahead of tomorrow’s expected announcement of the plan to reopen schools. The safety and wellbeing of teachers, SNAs, students and non-teaching staff has to be the overriding consideration.

“A long term view will have to be central to the plan – this isn’t just about schools reopening in the autumn, it’s about the multi-year impact the lockdown has had and will continue to have on students and their learning and life chances unless sustained investment is made to claw back the lost progress.”

26th July 2020

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