18-08-2020 What needs to be done to reopen schools safely?

Q1. What is good about the current plan to reopen schools?

Additional funds long overdue.

Discussion about homework in light of issue of CV 19 transmission with copybooks

The clean out on schools…needed to be done for sure…  they’ll be so clean of things …like new

I’m undecided as I was happy to be teaching but the way this Govt shifts direction so fast we could see OfSTED in before Christmas and I don’t like the idea around new progression lines for children

The clutter free work space. Major clear outs have taken place in all schools.

I agree. I gutted my room. It’s a blank canvas. Zero clutter and nothing stored. But … after five hours clearance and cleaning with the help of my husband … I’m now told I won’t be in it.

Yup. The fewer surfaces the better.

We’ll be back in school and not teaching 28 black squares on a screen.

Grants, covid aid allowance.

It’s highlighting the lack of funding that has gone into Education over the last 10 years. Sometimes I wonder is it the the government making a mess of it or the DES. Highlighted lack of funding put towards health too.

There’s lots coming home to roost this year…astonishingly poor social and economic policies, poor urban and rural planning, doddering over essential infrastructure, etc.

OK so…..Question 2… What is wrong with/missing from the Plan?


Indeed. Apparently #COVID19 is not airborne. Lol.

Possibility that teachers could spread CV 19 to students does not seem to feature in discussions

Well there are maybe 30 spreaders in the room including 1 teacher, so statistically it’s going to be child-to-child and child-to-teacher in the main. there really is little difference once you allow for aerosol transmission but as I understand it teachers will be 2m from kids?

No way teachers can stay 2m from children all day

Easy, not enough focus on children with Special Needs, Schools still waiting on guidance here. Too much of a rush to get all back not enough emphasis on safety. Extra staff need to be employed, where’s the funding? No Plan B or C. No word re blended learning.

No guidance on ventilation in classrooms. Leaving windows / doors open. Harvard School of Health Doctor on Newstalk last Friday said he was very disappointed with DES on this.

Assumption that teachers are going to magically appear! No plan B or C!

no reflective supervision for principals or teachers. Both are near burnout before school has even started due to lack of clarity from DES!

Masks for students and teachers in Primary schools is very obviously missing. Did no one read the ECDC guidance published last week..

I thought Primary teachers had to wear masks or shields?

They do but that only protects the pupils. Who/what is protecting the teachers? Visors alone = useless, mask alone=pupil protected, Visor and mask = inhibits facial expression

It simply ignores current health advice. Entirely. The State is saying one thing to everyone and then another thing applies in their own schools. Can’t square that circle. It’s negligent.

Does the same the HSE staff. Does the same to people on PUP who foolishly decide to go abroad. Spot the pattern? As an employer, the state is a bit of a psychopath.

Provisions for children who will need to miss school for periods due to self isolation, family v high risk or they themselves v high risk. Those provisions should include a national remote learning plan and a guarantee that COVID-related absences will be logged separately

I don’t feel we as teachers and school staff are being allowed to make similar decisions to other workers with regards to PPE/masks/visors.

It also ignores the need for lots of kids to learn at home for extended periods. Kids who are king term sick etc.

1. Appropriate staffing levels to alleviate the upcoming sub issue. Explanation of what a school should do when they can’t find a sub.

2. Supports for pupils with Additional Needs. We are decimating provision for our most vulnerable pupils by misappropriating Support Teachers.

3. Options for parents to keep children outside of the “Very high risk category” at home, with support. Dual benefits of supporting parents and pupils at home, as well as reducing numbers in school

4. The main one. H&S supports for our staff. Small rooms, too many people, most without masks, inadequate ventilation. Our staff and pupils are not safe.

5. A Remote learning plan, or a plan B of any sort at all. Again it will be last minut and left to individual schools.

6. Clarity. Different schools already interpreting the guidelines differently. This should not be possible. We don’t need 40 pages to say 2 pages worth of necessary info.

7. Not enough funding. Staff and cleaning, particular issues. No provision at all for unique challenges facing small schools.


Question 3. Fantasy School Reopening. What would you like to see?

half class sizes; recruit additional teachers; blended learning for those who need it; do not use SET to cover absences; commandeer additional space; 1 additional guidance for every secondary school over 500 pupils; make DP admin for schools with 16 classes.

Opt-in online learning for any parent/student that wants, priority given to children with any risk factor (not just “very high risk”) for primary. For secondary, blended learning on a week in/week at home basis for all. When at home, students link in with the class online.

For me, I think there should be systematic testing of the entire school community (aka the state). They should ahve geared up for that, identify asymptomatic clusters, isolate, move on etc.

Lots of contact tracing & weekly test

Pool testing on schools. Suggested by a specialist on Newstalk this morning Pat Kenny show. Really interesting

Testing is a moment in time. I was tested this morning. I will have been to work (masked) and Lidl (masked) by the time the results come in. I could contract it in the time it takes the results to arrive.

Also HSCL for all schools. Think it is needed for this school year.

And masks, masks and more masks

We need to leverage language skills and knowledge of our parents to connect with families of EAL children

A definitive plan for effective blended learning that puts safety for all at its core. Rotation of year groups in school then at home giving the maximum possible physical distancing when in the building. All in small group so contact time effective.

Phased return for both staff and students

Alternate days of attendance for children in primary to allow for safe social distancing. Extra SNAs to facilitate the increased needs of chld. Extra subs in every school specific for that school-not from a panel. SETS not used as subs. Clear messaging from DES.

How about letting the hundreds of QUALIFIED & EXPERIENCED teachers who are living here who are being held up by the @TeachingCouncil @MTPteacher have their files reviewed? They often have to wait for 2+ years. Irish teachers go to other countries and start working the next week.

Alternate days of attendance for children in primary to allow for safe social distancing. Extra SNAs to facilitate the increased needs of chld. Extra subs in every school specific for that school-not from a panel. SETS not used as subs. Clear messaging from DES.

Live stream from classes to children at home. Specific opportunity to have 1 on 1 meetings with struggling students. 2m distancing. Using collaborative online resources to support distance learning & engagement. Face masks for those who can. Family or close contacts bubbles.

Smaller class sizes made possible using any means necessary for H&S 2. Additional teacher per stream to cover subs, remote learning etc 3. Additional SNA per stream. 4. Funding for full time cleaner in every school 5. All principals admin for the year

option for remote learning would solve a lot of problems, not the least of which being ensuring some level of continuity for kids out sick. But government would have had to start thinking about schools back in March when they were still pretending this was 2 months tops.

A plan B would be nice. An acknowledgment from the DES that what we have been given to work with is not adequate or safe. An appearance by the minister. Pipe dreams.

Half day for half class, reduced curriculum in primary. With full classroom cleaning & ventilation between the two groups. Reduce cluster sizes but reintroduce 5 day week routine. 2hrs a day so no need for lunches, yards, staggered starts, maybe even avoid toilet, etc. In & out.

Q4. Tough question. Who’s afraid of returning under the current plan?

I am concerned. I’m the only parent my daughter has. Put it this way Peter prepared my schedule of assets for my will, updated latter.

Scary that it’s that real.

The stand out thing for me tonight is teachers saying they are writing their wills in the event the return to school exposes them.

This is truly so sad to read! I mean, students and all school staff are entering into school buildings and over sized classes that are genuinly unsafe due to social distancing just NOT being possible! I pray for ALL students and ALL school staff at this frightening time.

I’m very scared. For myself & family members

I’m afraid of schools being blamed for the inevitable closures. I’m afraid that students will get ill. I’m afraid for students who are anxious about their return. I’m afraid that we act as a petri for infection & affecting the vulnerable. Not afraid of returning&doing our best.

I am extremely worried.

Peter this thread should be sent to @NormaFoleyTD1 and @MichealMartinTD @ronan_glynn its probably a fairly accurate snapshot of teachers feelings all over the country. Hopefully NPHET has recommended delaying reopening until infection levels drop again

Very worried

I’m petrified


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