ASTI Standing Committee met this evening to discuss the announcement by the Minister for Education Norma Foley that special schools, special classes and specialised settings will be fully open from Monday 11 January and that Leaving Certificate students will receive in-school teaching provision for three days each week with all other students to be supported to learn remotely.
The ASTI was not consulted before this announcement. The ASTI has not been provided with the necessary assurances that schools are sufficiently safe for students and teachers at this time, in the context of the new variant of Covid-19 circulating in the community and the alarmingly high numbers.
Following the Minister’s announcement, the ASTI received a high number of communications from second-level teachers expressing their concern that the movement of more than 80,000 individuals to and from schools is not essential and poses a great threat to public health in the current context.
ASTI Standing Committee decided to direct its members not to co-operate with the arrangements announced by the Minister for Education for in-school teaching, but to engage in remote teaching/ learning provision from Monday, January 11th. The decision is based on significant concerns about the health and safety of students, teachers and other staff.
Speaking after the meeting, ASTI President Ann Piggott said: “The ASTI has repeatedly sought sufficient assurances that schools are safe for students and teachers at this time, in the context of the new variant of Covid-19 circulating in the community and the alarmingly high numbers.
“We engaged with the Department of Education and with public health officials today. Unfortunately, the assurances we sought have not been forthcoming.”