Teaching union calls for ‘vigilance’ as schools fully reopen

A million students and staff will return to classrooms on Monday as the Republic prepares to ease its coronavirus restrictions.
Teaching union calls for ‘vigilance’ as schools fully reopen

By James Ward, PA

The country's largest teaching union has called for “vigilance” as schools fully reopened on Monday.

More than a million students and staff returned to classrooms on Monday as the Republic eases its coronavirus restrictions for the first time this year.

The Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) has said there is “anxiety” among school communities over the return, and has called for an ongoing review of the situation.

General secretary Michael Gillespie said: “We have always said that the preference of our members is a return to face-to-face teaching and learning as long as all risk mitigation measures are in place and strictly adhered to.

“With the full return to school buildings of all year groups today, there is understandable anxiety among all in school communities, particularly given concerns around new strains of the virus.

“At a national level, the situation must be kept under forensic review, while adherence to the measures that protect the health and safety of students, staff and their families must be the key priority in every school.

“We have already made clear that we will not tolerate breaches of key safety measures in workplaces.”

He added: “Keeping schools open in a manner that is safe and sustainable is a challenge for all of society and everybody must meet their own responsibilities in this regard.”

Restrictions ease

Monday sees the 5km travel limit relaxed to allow people to travel anywhere within their county, or up to 20km if crossing into another county.

People from two households will be allowed to meet up outdoors for social and recreational purposes, however the Government has insisted that private gardens remain off limits.

All schoolchildren are to return to in-class learning from Monday, while construction on housing and essential projects will also resume.

Further easing of restrictions is expected on April 19th and April 26th.

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