No Clear Plan On How Schools Will Reopen In September

Guidelines on the reopening of schools in September remain at the draft stage and social distancing will prevent all children from returning five days a week.

Education Minister Mr Joe McHugh left teachers and parents with more questions than answers after yesterday’s post cabinet press briefing.

Minister McHugh stated that the optimal objective was to have all students back to school in late August and early September. He then drew on a few statistics to illustrate that a programme of social distancing, if implemented in schools, would prevent all children returning.

He spoke about the need to look at other countries’ experiences and the importance of engaging with stakeholders, as well as the need to open schools safely, but also ensure that keeping them closed does not cause more damage in terms of educational regression or neglect.

Despite the indication that social distancing will not apply in schools in September, Minister for Health, Simon Harris, emphasised that public health advice on social distancing is still a strict adherence to the two-metre rule.

In concluding remarks, Minister McHugh envisaged that guidelines on returning to school in September will issue sometime this month. Hopefully, they will bring greater clarity on how school’s will return in September. Whilst everyone would agree that having all pupils return to school is the optimal objective, the safety of our children, families, communities and school staff cannot be compromised.

The report to government presented yesterday, 12th June 2020, on the planning for reopening schools in line with the roadmap for reopening society and business can be accessed HERE.


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