INTO calls for immediate review of Covid response plans following surge of cases in schools 6 days ago

INTO calls for immediate review of Covid response plans following surge of cases in schools

Nearly a third of 11,778 days where subs were required went unfilled.

The Irish National Teachers Organisation has called for an immediate review of the Government's Covid response plan as cases continue to rise.

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Over a period of 12 days, 11,778 substitutable days were reported by schools, 31.98% (3,693 days) of which went without a replacement.

On days where a substitute was available to take a class, less than 50% of these days were filled by registered primary school teachers.

10.66% of these days were filled by registered teachers who were not primary teachers, and 7.34% of these days were filled by people not registered with the Teaching Council at all.

In these 12 days, 605 teachers in 877 schools surveyed tested positive for Covid, which amounts for 3.62% of all staff in the country.

In a statement, INTO General Secretary John Boyle said that the government had been "abandoning teachers and principals to protect themselves and their unmasked, unvaccinated pupils from the impact of the highest wave of infection in their schools since the pandemic began".

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"This union’s view is that the recent statement from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (“sharing a classroom can be considered a high-risk exposure” – 28 October 2021) must be taken seriously by the Irish government if we are to sustain schooling in the coming months.

"The government must do everything in its power to minimise the risk of exposure in every primary school classroom.

"The INTO calls for an immediate review of the Covid-19 response plans for primary and special schools to address the upsurge in infection levels manifest since the delta variant took hold in school communities," he added.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and Minister for Education Norma Foley have recently published plans for the HSE to send antigen tests to families where a child in a primary school has tested positive for Covid following a PCR test. The families are under no obligation to conduct the test, however, and children are free to attend school if they continue to be asymptomatic.