Families prepare for return to school despite uncertainty
The Government is planning for as full a return to school as possible in September and one Wicklow parent doesn't foresee any difficulties in letting his daughter return to the classroom.
The Department of Education is encouraging the observation of social distancing, hand hygiene and good respiratory etiquette by all children, teachers, parents and visitors, once schools reopen. There is continued uncertainty over whether all pupils will be able to return to school together.
While some parents may be nervous about any return , Garrett O'Reilly, whose daughter Naoise attends the Dominican College Wicklow, has full faith in both the school and its teachers.
He said: 'I wouldn't have any problem with students returning back to school. I would trust the teachers and the teachers union to look after the welfare of both the students and the staff. At the moment, you just have to take things one stage at a time. The reopening of schools is still a number of weeks away. Things could change considerably in that time, especially if there is another spike in the number of Covid-19 cases.'
All schools will need to have a Covid-19 Response Plan in place for the new school year.
Students Mr O'Reilly has been in recent contact with, including his daughter, are keen to return as soon as possible.
'Naoise and her friends are all anxious to get back to school. They have missed it over the past number of months. They have been missing one another, especially during lockdown, but they have also been missing going to school each morning and attending classes. It's something they are used to so any return to the routine they are more familiar with is to be welcomed.'
The Department of Education recognises that enhanced cleaning will be required to support schools to prevent Covid-19 infections, and is engaging with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on the requirement to provide funding to support enhanced cleaning needs.
The Department has also arranged for a drawdown framework to be established to enable schools purchase hand-sanitisers for use in the school and classroom. The procurement process for this framework has already commenced and it is intended these materials will be available in early August.