Cork TD calls for more detail as phased reopening of schools planned for start of March 

Cork TD calls for more detail as phased reopening of schools planned for start of March 

The proposal being worked on is the return of junior infants, senior infants, and Leaving Cert students to school from the beginning of next month.

A CORK principal has said he is looking forward to a return to in-class teaching as the phased reopening of schools looks set to begin on March 1 but there have been calls for more detailed plans to be put in place. 

The Cabinet Covid sub-committee met this evening. While a final decision is due to be made next week, the proposal being worked on is the return of junior infants, senior infants, and Leaving Cert students to school from the beginning of next month.

The potential return of more primary and secondary school students in the latter weeks of March will be monitored in accordance with public health measures. It is anticipated that first and second-class pupils would be the next students to return.

Returns will be conducted on a phased basis as there are still huge concerns about the spread of the virus. 

Sinn Féin Education spokesman Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said more detail is needed.

“We have a date and the classes involved, but no real plan in place. We need an awful lot more detail.

“In principal, I would love to see the children back in the classroom as soon as possible, but we need more flexibility and common sense. We also need to make sure the safety aspects are fully implemented." 

The Cork TD remains concerned about children with special education needs in mainstream schools. 

“I am concerned about children with special educational needs in the mainstream schools who seem to have fallen off the agenda. They have no date for their return which is a pity. They need to be the next priority. They need support.”

Sinn Féin Education spokesman Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said more detail about the school return plan is needed.
Sinn Féin Education spokesman Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said more detail about the school return plan is needed.

Donal Deasy, principal of Morning Star National School in Ballyphehane, welcomed news of a return. 

“We have been looking forward to getting back and teaching in a safe environment. 

"Actors want to act, footballers want to play football, while teachers want to teach. It is our job.

“We want to get back and get going as soon as possible. In-person teaching is the best way to do that. We are looking forward to welcoming the students back.”

Mr Deasy said the safety of staff and students remains the priority and they will return to a very safe environment.

“We are doing everything we can to make sure everyone is safe. We are taking into account all safety considerations. We have listened to all the concerns from the staff. We have taken everything on board. We have got all the equipment in place. All bubbles will stay separate. Our rooms are much bigger than previously also due to the recent extension work. All pods will stay separate. Hand sanitizers will stay in place. We will follow Covid policy to the letter,”

The Morning Star national school pupils will be returning to a recently completed extension programme which will be a further cause of celebration, said Mr Deasy. 

“The kids will be returning to a new classroom, new sensory room, new car park, and a new playground. We are welcoming four ASD classes back next Monday. They will be the first pupils to see the next extension. It is the dawn of a new era for us." 

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