Plan Is For Full Re-Opening of Schools In September Says Minister

Minister for Education Joe McHugh T.D.

Education Minister Joe McHugh has told the Dáil the timetable is for schools to re-open fully in August or September. Guidance for schools on how to re-open safely is being developed.

It isn’t envisaged that “significant” personal protective equipment (PPE) will be required when schools reopen in September, Minister McHugh has said.

The minister told the Dáil today that it is still the government’s intention to see a full return to school in late August and September.

The Donegal cabinet minister also confirmed that additional resources will be provided to schools to enable enhanced cleaning.

However he added existing hand washing facilities in some schools aren’t designed for the enhanced level of hand washing necessary iwithout significantly impacting on class time.

The Department of Education will provide resources to schools to enable them purchase hand-sanitisers.

Minister McHugh addressed the Dáil:

“The procurement process for this framework is now underway and it will also deal with any other potential PPE requirements. It is not envisaged that significant PPE will be required in school settings. Details on funding will be provided in due course.”

He said the roadmap for reopening the country has been accelerated under public health underline and this could be the case when it comes to schools.

“Consideration to other mitigating factors in a school setting and emerging evidence on low infection transmission by children may also mitigate some of the risks considered as part of broader public health advice.

“We also have to be cognisant that maintaining physical distancing in all situations is not possible or appropriate.

“In particular, it may not be practical for children who are quite young and some with special educational needs. In these situations, we need to ensure there are appropriate measures in place to protect children and school staff,”.