'Teachers cannot be forced into working during the summer'; Concern at Leaving Cert plans 

'Teachers cannot be forced into working during the summer'; Concern at Leaving Cert plans 
Richard Terry from Fermoy.Photo Don MacMonagle

A Cork teacher has moved to ease concerns that teachers would refuse to accommodate the government's proposal for a Leaving Cert in late summer. 

The secondary school teachers' trade union, the ASTI, has said the proposal to hold the Leaving Certificate in late summer cannot be enforced, sparking concerns that teachers may oppose it.  

The ASTI said “no teacher will be required to do anything. The proposal from the Department of Education and Skills cannot be enforced.” 

Richard Terry, a history and maths teacher in St Colman's College in Fermoy and a member of ASTI's Fermoy branch, told The Echo that he interprets his union's statement as the “legal reality” of the situation.

“From a contractual point of view, teachers cannot be forced into working during the summer.

“I wouldn’t interpret it to mean that teachers are unwilling to, or refusing to, or will not contribute,” Mr Terry said

Some teachers had been concerned with the reintegration within the school system, as misinformation had been spreading.

“We’re not just going to be chucked in at the deep end with the consideration that: ‘we’ve flattened the curve enough now, it’s time for you all to get it.’ 

“That may have been what stoked a lot of the worries in people, because certainly if you put 30 students into a classroom with a teacher, if one person has it (Covid-19),at the end of that 40 minute period everyone’s going to have it,” Mr Terry said.

However, Mr Terry has said that despite the given dates for the Leaving Cert, everything is still very much up in the air regarding the exams.

“We can make plans for July and August, but we don’t know if those plans are actually going to be feasible when it comes to it because we may come to August and it may still not be safe to let students gather in large groups.”

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