Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD, has called on the Government to facilitate remote learning for all high-risk families.
Speaking today after addressing the issue with student and parent groups at the Oireachtas Education Committee, Teachta Ó Laoghaire said:
“I have been contacted by many parents who are medically vulnerable and at high-risk, and their children must stay at home from school as a result. The guidance is not clear enough on how remote learning will be facilitated.
“Currently these families are not being facilitated by the Department, and the children are losing out on their education as a result. This is unacceptable.
“The position of the Department is that where children are not high-risk themselves, they are not to be provided with remote learning. This is unnecessarily obstinate. It does not recognise the reality that it may be extremely dangerous in some instances for children to attend school and return home to a parent who has a serious medical condition.
“The Department’s current approach is denying many children an adequate education. It is completely unfair that children must go to school worried that they may be bringing home illness to their medically vulnerable parent. Indeed, figures from a survey from the Irish Secondary Level Students’ Union show that it’s one of the top issues that students themselves are worried about.
“Children are dealing with enough stress and anxiety at the moment without this additional worry. Any child who has a high-risk family member at home should be allowed to stay at home, and should be facilitated with remote learning.
“We have been calling on Minister Foley to address this for months now, meanwhile children are losing out. I am again urging the Government to act swiftly to provide remote learning for these families.”