Catherine Murphy TD, co-leader of the Social Democrats, said today it beggars belief that the Government has not yet laid out a clear roadmap for the safe reopening of schools at the end of August.

Deputy Murphy said:

“We are just weeks away from the time when children should begin returning to school and there is a real sense of panic from parents. Schools have been closed since March and there is still no clear picture emerging from the Government as to what is going to happen.

“We are constantly told that the reopening of schools remains a priority but we have yet to see the detail – an aspiration will not cut the mustard.

“In the past few months, parents have had to become full-time carers, full-time workers and full-time educators – and they are at breaking point.

“So many aspects of learning have been lost this year. Youngsters have missed out on their play-based learning – key building blocks for social and learning skills. Older children are stepping up from primary to the big new world of secondary school while missing key events that mark this right of passage.

“We have had two Education Ministers over that time period and all we have heard is the same lip service – there is no clear picture here.

“There’s a framework document sitting on the Department of Education’s website that sets out its ambition to reopen schools across various phases of the Government roadmap by September. However, without funding, clear communication and strategies already in place, it is by and large a nonsensical report and so much contained in it is not achievable.

“We need Minister Foley to come into the Dáil without further delay and give full details of what funding will be made available to allow for the safe return to school.”

July 23, 2020

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