A Cork secondary school has lent its support to a national campaign calling for special needs assistants (SNAs) to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.
Coláiste Éamann Rís principal Aaron Wolfe said SNAs are frontline workers who are in extremely close proximity to the children they work with, and while teachers can social distance in a classroom, SNAs cannot.
“A lot of the children SNAs work with don’t understand the Covid situation and would be able to comprehend why the SNA might want to keep a distance from them. It is a very complex situation.”
Mr Wolfe said with the Government focused on reopening schools, SNAs provide a vital service.
“I’m not saying SNAs should skip the queue but they are doing risky work in intimate settings. They work very closely with children.”
His comments come as the recently established Special Needs Assistants Advocacy Group (SNAAG) held a virtual protest at the weekend calling for SNAs to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.
We @SNAAGIre are advising a virtual protest today&tomorrow to highlight the need to #VaccinateSNAs— SNA_Advocacy_Group (@SNAAGIre) April 3, 2021
Take a pic/vid of yourself holding a piece of paper with #VaccinateSNAs on it.
We are not faceless. We matter.
Quote this tweet & post your images.#edchatie #SNAsaturday #SNAAG
The advocacy group, which has only been set up a few weeks, hopes to bring parents and school staff together to ensure the best solutions are reached to benefit the children.
SNAAG spokesperson for SNAAG, Darren Roche said SNAs should be priority vaccinated in order to ensure the schools are a safe environment for all.
It is not just SNAs that Mr Roche said he wanted to see prioritised for the vaccine.
The SNAAG spokesperson said he and the SNAAG organisation were of the opinion that all school staff should be prioritised in the vaccination to some degree as opposed to the age model that has been announced.