Reopening Date for Schools in Ireland

Reopening Date for Schools in Ireland

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Petition to
Dáil Eireann and

Why this petition matters

Irish schools have now been closed since 6 January 2021. There is no firm commitment for a reopening date.

The first pandemic school closure lasted 13 weeks and children did not attend school between 12 March 2020 and 30 August 2020. By mid May 2020, Covid 19 infection rates were at a low level (e.g. by 21 May, the seven day average was 81 cases). In circumstances where the government had ruled out a "zero covid" strategy, there was no reason why schools should not have reopened at that point, some five to six weeks before the end of term. However they did not. 

UNESCO has advised that full school closures must be a last resort and that reopening them safely should be a priority. 

We propose: 

(a) That INTO, TUI and ASTI are required by government to commit to a reopening of schools at the earliest date on which NPHET advises that it would be safe to do so, taking into account accompanying measures such as guidance against group gatherings outside of the core school day.

(b) That if NPHET advises school reopening on a date from mid to end of March, an allocation for Easter holidays should be provided within the period of school closure in advance of the reopening date.  

(c) That the Department of Education acts now to put in place meaningful safeguarding measures, as have been implemented in other jurisdictions. For example, the World Health Organisation has indicated that children aged between 6 and 11 should wear masks depending on risk. 

Government, parents and teachers need to act now to avoid further damage to our childrens' educational and social development. 



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