Covid-19 and reopening schools

 

Sir, – Pupils and students of primary and secondary education need to return to school in September. “Blended learning” is far from the ideal situation. The suggestion of a 2½-day school week is simply unworkable for the majority of families (“One-metre rule means all students may not return to school in September”, News, July 2nd). The mental, social and educational damage being inflicted on the children will be long- lasting.

Throughout Europe schools have managed to reopen with children accessing their education full-time, while maintaining safeguards in the ongoing struggle against Covid-19.

The Government and all stakeholders involved must be creative to take decisive action here and return all children to their schools full-time by September 1st. The views of the teaching unions must not be taken as the only valid opinion in this discussion.

I’d like to believe that the new Minister will act in the interests of schoolchildren and their parents. The fact that she is a teacher herself doesn’t inspire hope in this regard, but I would be happy to be proven wrong in this instance. – Yours, etc,

SINÉAD O’SULLIVAN,

Portarlington,

Co Laois.

A chara, – “More than 90 per cent of parents want schools fully open in September” (News, July 2nd).

As a teacher, I would say that 100 per cent of school staff want schools open and all students back. But it has to be done in a safe and sustainable way. We are acutely conscious of the importance of education for our students – we have been shouting about it from the rooftops for years as we tried to get schools properly resourced.

But schools are workplaces. Employees as well as students need to be protected. We cannot wish the virus away for students or staff and have a different standard of protection for the school community to that of the wider community .

Whatever decisions are made must have public-health guidance as the guiding principle.

While we would all love to go back to the way things were before March 2020, we have to accept that may not be possible.

But we will adapt, innovate and continue to provide quality education to our students under the safest possible arrangements for all involved. – Is mise,

CARMEL DE GRAE,

Baile Átha Cliath 9.

Sir, – According to the National Parents’ Council, 91 per cent of parents want a complete return to school in September.

I want many things: to meet up with my grandchildren, to get back fully to sport, to go on my holidays abroad, to meet my friends in the pub. However, I can’t have those things because, as a responsible citizen, I am required to follow public-health guidelines. – Yours, etc,

LEE HEALY,

Ballincollig,

Cork.

Sir, – Why all the fuss about schoolchildren being required to socially distance to reopen the schools? They are not practising social distancing outside of school. – Yours, etc,

PAUL PHELAN,

Blackrock, Co Dublin.