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Covid-19 Pandemic

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 14 October 2020

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Questions (77)

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin


77. Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Education if she will consider an elongated school break at Christmas 2020 to alleviate the pressure of Covid-19 on schools and pupils. [30272/20]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has considered the national experience of school reopening to date, including the epidemiological data and information gathered through case and outbreak management. The experience to date since schools reopened is reassuring and supports the current international position that schools and childcare facilities do not appear to be key drivers of COVID-19 transmission in the community. It is clear that the exceptional efforts of school staff, children and parents/guardians in implementing the public health guidance has contributed to the safe and successful reopening of schools in Ireland.

The scheduling of the school holiday periods during the academic years is agreed between the managerial authorities of schools, the teacher unions and my Department for the purposes of standardising breaks at Christmas, Easter and mid-term and there are no plans to close schools for purposes of elongating any school break. The importance of schools for the overall health and wellbeing of children cannot be overstated and the risk of COVID-19 must be carefully weighed against the very real harm that can be caused by sustained school closures.