TUI welcomes updated guidance on face coverings and says that vigilance will be required on an ongoing basis
The Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) welcomes the updated guidance from the Department of Education and the public health authorities on wearing face coverings in schools.
The Union had discussed with the Department and the partners the evolving scientific view in regard to face coverings and the growing acceptance across society that this is a prudent protective measure.
The TUI had asked that any revision of public health authority and Department of Education guidance in this regard would issue as soon as possible, ahead of the re-opening of schools, to allow for the procurement of the required equipment.
TUI President Martin Marjoram commented:
“The Union has consistently called for publication of this guidance as early as possible so that schools can plan accordingly and procure the required equipment.
It is now vital that the required resources are provided to schools to ensure that this crucial protective measure is in place when schools re-open.
The health and safety of students, staff, their families and communities must remain the key concern for all and the TUI, therefore, will continue to address any arising issues with the Department ahead of the re-opening of schools.”
Mr Marjoram also said that today’s announcement makes it crystal clear that there can be no departure from the specified social distancing measures in schools. “The minimum of 1 metre is absolute – the key protective measure to which every school must adhere.”
“Vigilance will be required by everybody involved on an ongoing basis so that everything possible is done to ensure the health and safety of all in the school and in the broader community,” he added.
Arrangements are also being finalised in respect of students and teachers who may not be able to return to the workplace because they are in very high-risk categories in terms of their health.
In respect of second level, the TUI expects ongoing and intensive engagement with the Department to address arising issues and matters that have yet to be finalised, including:
- subject specific adjustments in relation to assessment components to take account of the disruption to delivery of tuition and
- the provision of IT and other resources to enable engagement by disadvantaged students and other cohorts who have been marginalised in the context of the national health emergency
Intensive engagement also required for safe re-opening of Further, Adult and Higher Education workplaces
“With the understandable focus on primary and post-primary schools, there is a risk that other sectors may be somewhat overlooked. The TUI will not allow that to happen,” stated Mr Marjoram.
“The TUI requires an equivalent level of engagement and appropriate resourcing in relation to the re-opening of Further, Adult and Higher Education workplaces. In this respect, there is a need for coherence between the Department of Education and the newly established Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.”
He noted that Youthreach Centres are scheduled to re-open on 24th August and that urgent measures are required to have the centres made safe, fit for purpose and compliant with the relevant public health advice.