Department of Education without clarity regarding opening of the school; Parents are deeply concerned
DUBLIN: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage, the Department of Education has yet to address parents’ concerns regarding the re-opening of schools in Ireland. The Department of Education and Minister Norma Foley are under great pressure as the opening of the school is uncertain in the present context.
Meanwhile, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said talks were underway to open schools in phases and hoped that this would be possible by March. He said special schools would be the first to open before primary schools and exams.
The government had held discussions with education partners yesterday regarding the reopening of the school but could not reach a clear decision.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Vocational Education Department said that the education department did not have a clear idea of the solution to the problem and that the opening of the school was almost abandoned by the education department.
The media had written to the education department seeking details about the opening of the school but the exact answers have not been given yet. However, it is learned that secret talks with unions and education partners are in progress. At the same time, with next week coming up, it will be the 16th week that students who have to write the exam will miss out.
Meanwhile, an examination advisory committee meeting was convened yesterday under the chairmanship of Minister Foley. Examinations, orals, practicals and course work related to the examination were evaluated at the meeting. However, the Irish Second Level Students’ Union (ISSU) has asked the government and the minister to take an immediate decision on the conduct of the exams and the reopening of the school. And this this puts a lot of pressure on the government.
CMO Dr. Tony Holohan said that NPHET had advised the Department of Education about the safe re-opening of schools in the wake of the COVID spread, but did not specify when the schools could be re-opened. He also said that it is the responsibility of the Department of Education to plan the reopening of schools.
Mr. Varadkar said the schools would be reopened in phases from the second half of February, but did not provide details on the date.
Earlier, when the school was scheduled to open in January, the arrangement was three days a week for Leaving Cert students on a rotation basis. However, it has not been determined what the new settings will look like.
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