The political party Aontú has slammed the government for their inaction on Covid-19 prevention measures in schools, and said the uncertainty schools have endured was driven by the three-week holiday taken by the government over Christmas.

Aontú Cllr Jim Codd, himself a secondary school teacher by trade, said:

“Let there be no doubt about it – teachers and students want to safely reopen schools this week. The government should have spent the last three weeks ensuring that schools could safely reopen. However, instead of using the three week period to roll out the delivery of Hepa filters, ring-fencing resources and antigen tests, to ensure that a safe return to school is possible, the government went on a three week holiday.”

“I’ve been in touch with many teachers in my constituency who’ve said that they’ve been left high and dry. Hepa Filters are only being funded to the tune of 40%, so most schools cannot afford to make up the difference. There is also a huge shortage of teachers and staff, with seemingly no contingency plans in place from the Government,” Cllr Codd said.

The Wexford Cllr continued: “We need the resources to ensure that schools can open and can remain open. It is Aontú’s view that schools should open this week, but it isn’t just a matter of the caretaker unlocking the front door on Thursday morning. There needs to be serious and immediate planning from the government to ensure the peace of mind of teachers, students and parents alike. If schools don’t open on Thursday the blame and fault will be with the government and their incompetence”.

“It is beyond comprehension that the Dáil is not sitting for the next three weeks. If we’re expecting schools to reopen and teachers to turn up to work this week, there should be no reason for the government to remain on holiday for the next three weeks. Aontú believes that the Dáil must immediately be recalled to ensure that supports are in place for schools and that any issues experienced in schools over the coming weeks may be elevated through opposition TDs and raised on the floor of the Dáil”, he concluded.

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