December 17, 2021
Sheehan calls on Education Minister to revisit Covid approach in schools

Sinn Féin MLA Pat Sheehan has called on the education minister to urgently revisit her approach to managing COVID in our schools.

The party’s Education Spokesperson said:

“We are fast approaching the end of this school term and it is quite clear that the Minister must act on a range of measures if schools are to re-open and remain open safely in the New Year.

“Principals have been open and honest in recent weeks as they describe the deterioration of the situation in many of our schools.

“A lack of appropriate guidance, a lack of adequate safety mitigations, a soft touch contact tracing policy, and a lack of available substitute teachers have put many of our schools in difficult positions with many having to resort to partial closures.

“The Omicron variant may also present new challenges, so I am urging the Minister to revisit her approach to COVID in schools.

“I put these concerns directly to the Minister today and called on her to produce a comprehensive plan which puts HEPA filters in all classrooms, which sets out a contact tracing policy teachers and families can have confidence in and to speed up the redeployment of qualified teachers from non-pupil facing positions back into the classroom.

“The Minister keeps telling us she wants to keep schools open. We agree, but she has to be willing to do what it takes, and she must get on with the planning urgently.”

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