Sinn Féin MLA Pat Sheehan has requested an urgent meeting with the Minister for Education to discuss the high numbers of positive COVID-19 cases within schools.
The party’s education spokesperson said:
“Over the last 48 hours Sinn Féin representatives have received a significant volume of correspondence from school principals and trade union representatives in relation to the COVID-19 situation in our schools.
“Principals are reporting high numbers of positive cases within schools and are urgently seeking an intervention by the Minister and her Department.
“I have called on the Minster to directly put in place the necessary resources and personnel to support our school communities at this time including; the re-deployment of Departmental and Education Authority staff to assist with contact tracing.
“If this is not possible, urgent consideration should be given to allowing our principals to employ contact tracers and this should be funded by the Department.
“Difficulties with accessing support via the PHA and EA COVID-19 specific help lines have also been raised. It has become apparent that these helplines require greater levels of resourcing to assist with the volume of queries coming from our school leaders.
“It is essential that our schools remain open, for all of the reasons which have been mentioned over the course of the past 16 months and they need to be resourced to do so safely and sustainably.”