Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has warned that the government must guarantee funding for additional cleaning costs for schools to ensure schools and parents are not unfairly hit with the cost.
Teachta Ó Laoghaire said:
“Worrying reports have emerged that the Department for Education estimates that costs for additional hygiene measures in schools could be in the region of €25 million, as schools are required to undertake more frequent and intensive cleaning of their buildings due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“There can be no question of schools having to shoulder these extra costs. School budgets are already stretched to beyond breaking point following years of austerity and under investment.
“Before the pandemic hit, many were already struggling to afford the cost of basic cleaning services and some have been put in the difficult position of asking pupils parents to fork out monthly contributions for cleaning costs to help plug ongoing funding gaps.
“Due to the pandemic, it is clear that extra cleaning and hygiene measures are absolutely essential for schools in order to protect the health of pupils, teachers and the wider community.
“The government needs to ensure that sufficient additional funds are allocated for this extra cleaning, so schools can prioritise safety without having to worry about struggling to pay the cost.”