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Unions welcome delay in reopening as Taoiseach says 'schools are safe'

Schools will now reopen on 11 January.

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THE REOPENING OF schools has been pushed back by a week due to the worsening Covid crisis. 

Unions have welcomed the announcement by Micheál Martin this evening that schools will now reopen on 11 January instead of the planned 6 January return. 

The INTO said it welcomed the “swift movement” by Government in delaying the return to school.

Its general secretary, John Boyle, said his union will continue to work with Government and Nphet to ensure staff and children remain as safe as possible.

“As we set out yesterday, the alarming public health data and concerns expressed in respect of the new Covid-19 variation warrant this approach. We will seek to work constructively with the Department of Education and Nphet to ensure our schools reopen next month and have the necessary supports and protection to stay open safely.” 

In his address to the nation, Micheál Martin said that the evidence he has seen shows government that schools are safe places. 

“All public health analysis is showing that schools are safe, and schools will reopen, but slightly delayed to 11 January.

“By extending the break by three days, the new restrictions I am announcing this evening will be in place for more than 10 days when schools open.  Families will have had an opportunity to ensure that their contacts are minimised before children return to school.”

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Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) General Secretary Michael Gillespie said that the delay in re-opening must be used to ensure that schools are as safe as possible for students and staff.  

He said that the safety of students and staff must be of “paramount importance”.

“There is grave concern and anxiety around the recent significant rise in the number of positive Covid-19 cases and the potential implications of the new variant of the disease.  

“Now that this announcement has been made, it is vital that the additional time be used to investigate what additional safety measures and enhancements may be required in schools. In this regard, any required resourcing must be made available.”

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