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Covid-19 Pandemic

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 9 November 2021

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

Questions (452)

Pa Daly


452. Deputy Pa Daly asked the Minister for Education the safeguarding measures that are currently implemented in schools in relation to Covid-19; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [54710/21]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department has always been guided by public health advice in relation to appropriate Covid-19 infection prevention and control measures in place in schools. These measures protect students, their parents and school staff and are very effective.

Each school was provided with an updated COVID-19 Response Plan in advance of the return to school. Significant additional resources of €639m 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 school this school year for the implementation of infection prevention and control measures this term. This funding will cater for school costs related to hand hygiene measures, 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.

At post primary level over 1000 teaching posts were provided to support social distancing within classrooms, to provide for enhanced supervision arrangements in order to manage and prevent congregation of large groups of students and ensure the careful movement in a socially distant manner to classes for specialist subjects where it is neither practical nor possible to remain in the classroom. This funding also included additional posts for guidance provision.

All of these measures are remaining in place for this school year. My Department has also provided updated guidance about good ventilation practices and arrangements have been put in place to provide CO2 monitors to assist schools with managing ventilation.

The infection prevention and control measures in place in schools have worked very effectively to prevent and control Covid-19 in schools. The Department will continue to work closely with public health officials and the education stakeholders in respect of the safe operation of schools during Covid-19.