Schools are facing a wave of trauma

Speaking ahead of a briefing for Opposition spokespersons by the Minister for Education this afternoon, Gary Gannon TD, the Social Democrats spokesperson on Education, said:

“It’s hard to see anything other than chaos unfolding as our schools attempt to reopen in the autumn. The failure is one of leadership and can be squarely laid at the door of both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael who seem content to be oblivious to the scale of the challenges ahead.

“It’s difficult to see how schools will be able to cope with the wave of trauma approaching. While there’s a high risk of the virus re-emerging, it is unavoidable that students will need substantial mental health supports to process all that has occurred over the past few months.

“Watching ministers with the huge responsibility for the education and welfare of our children act like super county councillors while our education system remains in disarray has been hugely frustrating.”

Deputy Gannon added: “There are a complex range of issues that need to be resolved before we can even contemplate reopening our primary and secondary schools, not to mention third level institutions. A safe reopening of schools will need complete buy-in from all stakeholders, including, teachers, students, SNAs, teachers’ unions, student representative bodies and non-teaching staff.

“There is too much at stake to continue with the ‘make it up as we go along’ mentality which formed the last Government’s approach to closing our schools and this new Government’s ‘leave it till the last minute’ attitude to reopening them.”

July 21, 2020

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