ASTI warns 'students won't be back' if plan doesn't have key safety measures

ASTI warns if Govt school plan not satisfactory 'students won't be back'

27/07/2020 14:15:00

ASTI warns if Govt school plan not satisfactory 'students won't be back'

IF the Government’s school reopening plan does not feature the necessary measures “students won’t be back”, a union president has warned. Association of Secondary School Tea…

10:41IF the Government's school reopening plan does not feature the necessary measures "students won't be back", a union president has warned.Association of Secondary School Teachers of Ireland president Deirdre MacDonald said safety is paramount as the Government's plan for schools to return on a full-time basis from next month is set to be unveiled today.

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2If Government's school reopening plan does not feature necessary measures "students won't be back" says ASTI president2ASTI president Deirdre MacDonaldThe Government is setto agree a plan worth over €300 million to facilitate a safe return to schools for the new school year

.Millions look set to be spent on building works to allow for distancing, acquiring Personal Protective Equipment and hand hygiene supplies and equipment.Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, MacDonald said: "Obviously we'll wait until the actual documentation. headtopics.com

"We have fought a valiant battle to make sure that our members and our students will be returning to a safe environment."So we do hope that what is necessary will be put in place."If it's not, well, we won't be back. The students won't be back because it would not be safe.

"Whatever has to happen, has to happen in line with the public health advice."'VERY HOPEFUL'Continuing, she said: "I am very hopeful because we have laid it out extremely clearly to them that those are the parameters that we will work within.

"Now we want to get back to school - teaching is always a difficult job, but I can tell you it has been a much more difficult job when we've been trying to do it remotely."Our members have done huge, huge work in supporting the students - as best can be done remotely.

"So we do want to go back, but we want to go back safely."MacDonald also said that on top of the money being invested into the reopening plan, the scheme itself must be sustainable.She said: "And the other thing, and this is very, very important, is that it must be sustainable. headtopics.com

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"We can't have this for two or three months. As we move into the normal flu season, shall we say, there will be undoubtedly absences."Where we went into work with colds, flus, all sorts of bits and pieces and worked through it and that was fine - that can't happen.

"If you have any raised temperature, any sniffle, any bit of a sore throat you can't take the chance."SUSTAINABLE SUPPLY OF STAFFShe added: "We must have a sustainable supply of staff."Will it be sustainable? ... That will be telling because if it's not, well then the schools can't open."

MacDonald added that money for cleaning and adoption of the school infrastructure also need to be "big elements" of the plan.She also said that because the time frame between the plan being published and school reopening is "very tight", schools might need more time to put the necessary safety measures in place.

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She said: "I have to say school management have a gigantic task ahead of them in order to ensure that this is put in place."The time frame is really difficult."If it takes a little bit more time, we'll have to wait for that. Until the place is safe, we will not go back."

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