Education Minister says schools reopening is not without challenge

The Education Minister admits the reopening of schools will ‘not be without challenge’.

Schools are to reopen tomorrow as planned, following a meeting between teaching unions and the Department of Education.

It’s despite concerns from the ASTI that some schools could be missing up to 50% of their stuff due to COVID-related absences.

Education Minister Norma Foley says different schools will face different challenges.

“There is a very clear hierarchy of priority in terms of students in terms of a particular provision being made for special schools and special classes, and younger children who cannot engage in remote teaching and learning, and obviously at second level for exam students.

“Schools will operate to their absolute maximum capacity.”

The ASTI says there’s a “strong possibility” some students will have to stay home due to staff shortages.

ASTI General Secretary Kieran Christie says many schools are facing problems having enough teachers.

“I think there is a very strong possibility that there will be schools that will have to leave some classes at home.

“I’m getting varying accounts from principals around the country that there could be anything from 10%, to the higher end 30%, 40% or 50% in some schools of staff either being close contacts or having Covid.”


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