More than 1,000 additional teaching staff will be hired for the reopening of schools at the end of August, Independent.ie can reveal.
The Government’s roadmap for opening schools is to be unveiled later today and one of the areas which has raised most concern among unions is teaching numbers.
A total of 1,080 staff will be brought in - including 120 guidance counsellors to “support student well-being” - to address potential staff shortages.
The Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) had called for certainty around how teacher absences will be managed as any teachers who have any symptoms of respiratory infection have been asked not to attend school in line with public health advice.
It sought assurance that supply panels of teachers will be established around the country to allow substitute teachers to be deployed at short notice.
INTO General Secretary John Boyle welcomed the “detailed plan” but also warned that the €350 million could run out very early on and said it must be reviewed at the end of September.
“It is ironic that it has taken a pandemic for us to realise that education cannot work on a shoestring,” he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.
He said the plan will put significant pressure on principals and boards of management, describing it as a “a big ask”.
Meanwhile, a senior union source said primary school children will be asked to maintain a distance of one metre.
However, the plan also acknowledges that this will be difficult to implement among the infant classes indoors and therefore physical distance measures will not apply to them.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Education Minister Norma Foley and Minister of State Josepha Madigan TD, launch the roadmap for reopening schools, subject to Cabinet approval, at around 5.30pm today.