The Department of Education 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.
Public Health continue to advise that the two most important actions to prevent the introduction and spread of Covid-19 (and other respiratory viruses), is by ensuring no-one with new onset symptoms attend school, and that all recommended infection prevention and control measures are in place in line with school Covid response plans.
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 schools in September for the implementation of infection prevention and control measures for 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. Teacher Supply panels were also expanded to cover the majority of primary schools nationwide, and a recent review saw an additional 200 teaching posts added resulting in approximately 680 teaching posts on these panels available to provide substitute cover in schools.
The schools referred to by the Deputy have received €142,411 capitation related funding for 2020/21 school year. To date both schools have also received additional financial supports of €71,927 to provide for Cleaning, PPE and hand hygiene costs under the COVID-19 response plans.
My Department has committed to ensuring that the full range of measures necessary to allow schools operate safely in the Covid-19 environment will continue to be available for the 2021/22 school year.