I propose to take Questions Nos. 85 and 86 together.
My Department has published a suite of helpful guidance for the safe and sustainable operation of schools. Each school is required to have a COVID-19 Response Plan for the safe operation through the prevention, early detection and control of COVID-19 in line with public health advice. This guidance is focused on the practical steps schools must take to minimise the risk of transmission of infection.
My Department does not have responsibility for Higher or Further Education.
Schools have a particular role to play in establishing secure and safe learning environments, in supporting the wellbeing of all, and in planning collaboratively for teaching and learning in a way that enables all pupils to progress and flourish in the 2020/21 school year. Subjects which are being followed as part of the school curriculum, can continue, once appropriate control measures are in place in line with a school’s COVID-19 Response Plan.
The specific focus of planning for individual subjects will vary from school to school in light of the individual school circumstances. Schools are advised to consult with guidance published by my Department is respect of practical subjects ‘ Return to School Guidance for Practical Subjects in Post Primary Schools and Centres for Education’ .
Further information is available at www.gov.ie/backtoschool
Guidelines on undertaking private activities outside of school are not a matter for this Department.