I thank the Deputy. Ensuring that schools can open and operate sustainably has been a key priority for me as Minister for Education. To support this objective, the Department of Education has engaged extensively with all of the education stakeholders, the Department of Health and the public health team in the HSE.
All schools across Ireland have fully reopened safely after the summer break, which is hugely welcome, as the Deputy acknowledged. Public health has reviewed the measures put in place to ensure safe operation of schools and has advised that the new variants of the disease do not change the infection prevention and control measures required in schools. The Department has been always guided by public health advice on appropriate Covid-19 infection prevention and control measures. Those measures protect students, their parents and school staff, and are effective.
Each school was provided with an updated Covid-19 response plan in advance of the return to school. Significant additional resources of €639 million were put into schools in the last academic year to keep schools safe. Further funding of €57.6 million has been paid by way of Covid-19 capitation to schools for the implementation of infection prevention and control measures for this term alone. This funding will cater for school costs related to hand hygiene measures, personal protective equipment, PPE, requirements, enhanced cleaning supports and supervision. At primary level, additional management resources for principal release days were provided for principals and deputy principals. Principals have one day per week away from teaching duties to concentrate on leading teaching and learning and administration duties. Teacher supply panels were also expanded to cover the majority of primary schools nationwide.
The Deputy specifically referenced the CO2 monitors that were recommended. Measures have been put in place to ensure that CO2 monitors will be provided in our schools. Some 96% of primary schools and all our special schools have their allocation. Indeed, each of our post-primary schools has at least ten monitors. There was an issue with the supplier, Lennox Laboratories, which was identified. Lennox has now informed the Department that resources, in terms of CO2 monitors, will be made available in October. In the meantime, should schools wish to purchase them on the ground, the opportunity for local purchase has been made available.