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Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 July 2020

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Questions (646)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

646. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education and Skills her views on the amount that will be required in additional funding for schools to cover issues related to Covid-19 hygiene by category of expenditure, item and sector; and the basis of the €25 million quoted in media accounts from Departmental sources. [15648/20]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

In re-opening our schools, my Department will be guided by the available public health advice and comprehensive engagement with stakeholders including the school management bodies and staff representatives as well as students and parents. I have published the interim public health advice received from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre and also made it available to schools across the country.

The receipt of this advice has allowed my Department to commence an intense period of engagement with school management and staff representatives which in turn has allowed it to engage with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

The focus, since the public health advice was received, has been on working through with the stakeholders how we re-open our schools safely. I know there will be costs associated with re-opening and not just in terms of hand sanitisation or cleaning regimes. My Department is currently defining what is needed and preparing cost estimates for these elements. Engagement with colleagues in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is underway in regard to the financial support that will be necessary.

I can assure the Deputy that there is full engagement with the education stakeholders and that everyone is committed to concluding the scoping and planning phases by the end of this month so that schools have sufficient time to prepare at a local level for their re-opening. There will also be comprehensive communication with students and parents so that they are fully informed.

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