Department confirms schools reopening as planned

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Galway Daily news Plans for major expansion of Connemara secondary school

Schools will reopen as planned this Thursday, January 6 the Department of Education has confirmed this evening.

Minister of Education Norma Foley held a meeting today with teachers unions, public health officials, and school managers to discuss the reopening.

In a statement following that meeting the Department said that all parties recognised the importance of in-school teaching and learning and the need for all involved to abide by COVID mitigation measures.

“Schools will operate in line with their Covid-19 response plans, which set out a range of mitigation measures for schools, including hand hygiene, mask-wearing, and social distancing. Schools have also been provided with guidance on maintaining good ventilation.”

“The successful roll-out by the HSE of the booster vaccination campaign for adults and the opening the vaccine programme to children aged 5-11 was also noted.”

“Guidance for parents and students on ensuring symptomatic students and household close contacts should not attend school is being issued through a communications campaign as well as directly through schools.”

Public health officials briefed stakeholders on the mitigation measures, which have been deemed “effective and appropriate”.

The department also said that public health officials advised that there is “no public health rationale” to delay the reopening.

“Further to today’s meetings, clarifications and further information will issue to schools from Public Health and the Department tomorrow in advance of schools reopening.”

Teachers Unions had asked for greater clarity from the department on COVID-19 isolation requirements, such as the length of time teachers must isolate, and what do if you get a positive antigen test, but cannot find a PCR test.