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09 Dec 2021

Labour Party calls for 'common sense approach for schools affected by outbreaks'

Labour Party calls for 'Common sense approach for schools affected by outbreaks'

Labour Party calls for 'Common sense approach for schools affected by outbreaks'

The Labour Party has called for a 'common sense approach for schools affected by outbreaks'

Labour spokesperson for Education, Enterprise, and Trade, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said, The Department of Education has prevented CBS Wexford from providing online education to pupils by insisting the physical building reopen.

"The Department of Education need to realise that ordinary rules don’t apply in a pandemic. They need to trust principals who are acting in good faith and in the best interest of children and the school community. No school wants to close, but the principal made a decision, the board of management backed her and the Department should have too." He added. 

Deputy Ó Ríordáin wants the Department of Education to support schools to make decisions locally. 

This comes as some schools have had outbreaks in recent days, in Wexford and Wicklow.

CBS Wexford made the decision to close its doors and revert to online learning this week due to an outbreak of Covid-19 cases, however, the school was forced to reopen the building by the Department of Education. 

Speaking to RTE News, CBS school principal Vicky Barron said: "My concern is that nothing will change. A child could be asymptomatic and unwittingly spreading Covid in the classroom and nobody will know until that child transmits it in their own household."

Vicky Barron stands by her decision to close the school and 'acted with the health and safety of our children at the centre of our thoughts'

The current guideline from the HSE states there are no close contacts in schools, and no student who is a close contact can be sent for testing.

Speaking on Newstalk this afternoon, Wexford Labour councilor George Lawlor said: "It is a ludracis situation. It has serious implications and is only the tip of the iceberg."

The Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) will meet the Department of Education during the week to 'discuss the latest developments, the very high level of infection among 5-12-year-olds, and plans for safeguarding schools from Halloween to Christmas'

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