Principals/deputy principals call for reversal of decision on re-opening of schools  - 'We do not have trust and confidence that this can be safely achieved'

By piofficer, Thursday, 7th January 2021 | 0 comments

An association which represents principals and deputy principals in around 250 Post-Primary schools in the country has said that it does not have trust and confidence that the proposed opening of schools next week for certain cohorts of students can be safely achieved.   

An emergency meeting of the officers of the Principals’ and Deputy Principals’ Association (PDA) of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland took place today.  

The association is calling on the Minister to immediately reconsider the matter.   

Comments from PDA President Adrian Power are set out below:     

‘The PDA has grave concerns about both the safety and logistics of reopening schools for face-to-face learning for both Leaving Certificate students and special classes at this point. In time, this may be the correct course of action. However, the current unprecedented levels of COVID-19 in the community present a very real and significant threat to the health and safety of our students and staff.    

We believe that the decision of the Government  - made without any consultation - is deeply damaging, particularly in light of the huge efforts of all in the school communities since the commencement of the academic year. We do not have trust and confidence that opening schools as is proposed can be safely achieved under the current circumstances.  

Most Leaving Certificate students are young adults and any gathering of this age group would not be allowed in the community. In addition, the 14-day incidence rate for this cohort extremely high.    

We in PDA recognise that in the medium term a return to face-to-face learning is appropriate. This should, however, be done in a planned manner following on from a meaningful reduction in COVID-19 levels in the community.   

In light of the points raised above, the PDA urge both Government and the Minister to re-consider the matter. We look forward to meaningful consultation with a view to putting in place an implementation process that best meets the needs of school communities.’     

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