October 20, 2020
Greater Covid19 protections needed for workers in education and childcare sectors – Louise O’Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade, Employment, and Workers’ Rights, Louise O’Reilly TD, has said that data released to her by the HSE shows that “greater protections against Covid19 are needed for workers in education and childcare sectors”.
Speaking this morning, Teachta O’Reilly said:
“Teachers and carers are some of the most dedicated workers around, and they are totally committed to their jobs and the children and teenagers they work with.
“However, their dedication and commitment must not be taken for granted by government. It is essential to deliver the necessary Covid19 workplace protections for them.
“Data released to me by the HSE has shown that since childcare and educational activity has resumed, a total of 204 cases of Covid19 have been detected from testing carried out in those settings.
“Of the 9,949 staff and children who have been tested for Covid19 in schools and creches around the State, HSE data showed that 2.1 per cent tested positive for the virus.
“The percentage of children and staff who tested positive for Covid19 in childcare facilities is double the number in both primary and secondary schoolhis needs to be investigated”.
“There is an onus on the government to ensure all workplaces, but especially schools and creches, are safe places for staff and children.
“Those working in the childcare and education sectors have consistently called for greater safety measures to be provided. Many workers have reached out directly to me to express their concern at the levels of mass testing in the sector, the lack of hot water in schools, the lack of proper ventilation of schools and classrooms as we head into winter, and the need for more PPE to be made available.
“The situation revealed by this data combined with the calls of childcare workers and teachers underlines the requirement for greater safety measures for creches and schools. This means early and meaningful engagement with the stakeholders and their representatives.
“It also reinforces the need for Covid19 to be designated a workplace injury if contracted at work. So far, the government has refused to act on this, and as a result, I have introduced legislation in the Dáil to do just this.”

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