Parents urged not to congregate at preschool gates or organise playdates

Parents urged not to congregate at preschool gates or organise playdates

In a letter to parents of children in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme settings, Dr Ronan Glynn, said that people’s hard work and willingness to work with public health guidelines helped make “real progress” in suppressing the latest wave of Covid-19.

THE deputy chief medical officer is urging parents not to congregate at school gates as early education settings begin reopening tomorrow morning.

In a letter to parents of children in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme settings, Dr Ronan Glynn, said that people’s hard work and willingness to work with public health guidelines helped make “real progress” in suppressing the latest wave of Covid-19.

He continued: “The importance of early learning and care and school-age children for the overall health and wellbeing of children and the ability of parents and guardians to work cannot be overstated, and the risk of COVID-19 has been carefully weighed against the very real harm that can be caused by sustained restrictions to these services. 

"Early learning and care and school-age childcare services are at the heart of our communities and they play a fundamental role in the learning, social development and wellbeing of our children and in enabling our society and economy to function; the benefits of early learning and care are particularly significant for vulnerable children and those with disabilities.” 

But he stressed that parents and wider society must ensure that other forms of household mixing and mobility must not be viewed as being acceptable.

Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health. Photograph: Sasko Lazarov / RollingNews.ie
Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health. Photograph: Sasko Lazarov / RollingNews.ie

And he urged parents to avoid congregating outside childcare and education services over the coming weeks; not to organise playdates or other household mixing opportunities, and to continue to work from home where possible.

He added: “Despite the progress we have made, COVID-19 is still circulating at high levels in our communities. We must do all we can individually and collectively to ensure that the lifting of restrictions to early learning and care and school-age childcare results in the minimum possible upward pressure on the reproduction number.” 

He thanked all the staff of early learning and care and school-age childcare services and all the childminders “who have worked so hard to ensure measures have been put in place to limit the risk of spread of COVID-19 in their services.” 

He concluded: “It has been this kind of work, done quietly and by the majority, which has underpinned our national response to COVID-19 and which, ultimately, will see us through to brighter days ahead.” Junior classes in primary schools returned last Monday, along with Leaving Certificate students at second level.

The remainder of classes will return on a phased basis in the coming weeks.

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