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Plan must allow schools to sustain safe learning/ teaching environment


 

The ASTI notes the publication today of the awaited Roadmap and Covid-19 Response Plan for Safe Re-opening of Post Primary Schools.

The successful re-opening of schools for the forthcoming school year will be an unprecedented and difficult undertaking. Over recent months, the ASTI has made representations to the Department of Education regarding its concerns. The Roadmap and Covid-19 Response Plan published today encompass some of the key issues raised by the ASTI. These include an investment package for the adjustment of physical infrastructure in schools, the appointment of extra teachers, additional resourcing for supervision and substitution, support for comprehensive cleaning and hygiene regimes, and comprehensive supports for student wellbeing. We also note the commitment in the Roadmap that curricular reform will be paused for the 2020/21 school year. This will serve to reduce the burden of initiative overload that has been prevalent in our schools in recent years.

However, we are concerned that the investment and resources being made available to schools may be insufficient. The ASTI will be insisting on regular reviews to deal with any emerging deficiencies in the Plan as they may arise.

“The re-opening of schools is one challenge. However, the measures that are being put in place must be sustained for as long as the threat of the pandemic remains. The health and safety of the whole school community is an imperative for ASTI members,” said ASTI President Deirdre Mac Donald.

Short timescale

The ASTI believes that implementing the Roadmap and the Response Plan prior to the start of the next school year will require enormous efforts on the part of school communities, and school management in particular.

In this context the ASTI is approaching the publication of the Plan with caution. Over the coming weeks we will review its operation and effectiveness. We wish to make it clear that any tardiness in the delivery of supports necessary for the safe re-opening of schools would be unacceptable to the ASTI.

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of education and the crucial role of face-to-face interaction between students and their teachers. We will continue to work with the Department of Education to press for any further resources required. We will also support our members in order to ensure that the advice of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre and other health agencies is implemented in full in every school.

Click here for Covid-19 Response Plan

Click here for Re-opening Our Schools Roadmap

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