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30th Dec 2020

Teacher’s union requests schools close for longer over Christmas

Melissa Carton

LGBT teachers sometimes feel 'unwelcome and isolated' in schools, says union

Do you think the schools should reopen next week?

INTO, the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation, recently released a letter asking the government to extend the Christmas holidays for students.

The request comes amid the rising number of Covid cases and as the cabinet convenes to discuss safety measures for 2021.

The letter addressed to Minister for Education and Skills, Department for Education and Skills, Norma Foley and written on December 29 reads;

“I write in advance of tomorrow’s cabinet meeting regarding additional public health measures to request that government give consideration to delaying the start of the next school term until Monday January 11, 2021 at the earliest.

I believe that the education partners would support changed arrangements for the standardised school year on public health grounds in the interest of securing safer schools for pupils, staff and their families.

The INTO remains strongly committed to supporting our 42,000 members in safe workplaces, as they endeavour to teach and support the wellbeing of their pupils at school where children undoubtedly benefit greatly.

However, it is now becoming very clear that the ability of schools to operate normally is likely to be seriously impaired due to the higher numbers of staff and students who will need to self-isolate and/or restrict movement in the weeks following Christmas.”

The letter goes onto say that there is a concern for the rising number of cases and that a delay in reopening schools would give said schools a chance to put more safety measures in place;

“In our view your government would also be better placed late next week to take account of emerging scientific evidence regarding the new variants of Covid-19 than you possibly could be within the next seven days.

The INTO remains available to work constructively with you in the best interests of everyone in school communities.”

You can read the full letter from INTO here.