DOE Guidelines - All Waffle, No Funding And No Solutions
Aontú Leader & Meath-West TD Peadar Tóibín has condemned proposals issued by the Department of Education as containing nothing of substance, offering no clarity or solutions to children returning to school, and only serving to further confuse a sector already in the dark.
Tóibín: “The Minister has done nothing to inform parents, pupils, or teachers of when they can expect to return to school, or what that return may look like. There has been no consultation with principals as to how schools can facilitate a full return to school in August or September commensurate with social distancing requirements. The guidelines quite simply offer no guidance. The only clear fact is that there will be no further funding made available for additional staff or cleaning to fight infection, and that there are no solutions to the teacher shortage in schools.”
“There is no indication what approach the government will be taking come schools returning. The proposals include discussion of 2 metre and 1 metre social distancing and also no social distancing. There is no reference to the public health advice. These guidelines offer nothing to schools, only pages upon pages about washing your hands.”
“The Minister has failed to answer any of the big questions facing schools and principals: when schools return will it be a full or partial return? Will the return of students to the classroom be staggered? What will be the intake of junior infants this year? Will parents be allowed to collect their children at the school gates? What will be the regulation concerning school busses or parents in the classroom? How does the school cater to at-risk pupils and teachers? What is the protocol if there is a case of Covid-19 in the school? How will cleaning of the school be funded? The questions continue, and this department will only talk about how to use hand sanitizer. The Minister is doing a disservice to principals, to teachers, to schools, to parents, to children – it must stop now. The Minister must come out and end the uncertainty facing parent, principal and child alike.”