How can school-opening plan be improved?

 

Sir, – Is anyone asking the question, “After we reopen the schools and universities, under what circumstances would we close them again in case of an outbreak?”

Will we close if there is one case? Five cases? Twenty-five? A death? If a hard and fast standard isn’t set, there will be a huge temptation to avoid the question until it is too late. – Yours, etc,

K TIDMORE,

Carrigaline, Co Cork.

Sir, – Many people are complaining about the Government’s plans for reopening the schools in August/September. It would be useful if writers suggested how the plans could be improved and made safer, when complaining about them.

It is going to be impossible to completely eliminate all risk due to the nature of the virus.

The alternative is that children stay at home indefinitely and that is not an option, either.

Children need their education and their friends. Parents need to work and bring in the money. So how can the plan be improved to make it safer yet practical?

More time, for a start. To allow suggestions to the apparently unsatisfactory current plan and delay school/university opening to allow time to implement.

If Government could do all-nighters for the bank rescue, they can do it for the education system to rectify the apparent flaws in the current proposals. It is equally as important.

The Government’s plans can probably be improved upon. The first draft always can. So suggestions, rapidly please, to your TD and this paper for improvements to the draft plan. – Yours, etc,

DAVID DORAN,

Bagenalstown, Co Carlow.

Sir, – Today my children’s school in Ireland has sent me a letter from the Minister for Education, Norma Foley. Unfortunately it does not mention boarding school pupils who live abroad.

My daughter is going into Leaving Certificate and her sister is going into Junior Certificate in Newtown School, Waterford. A simple solution would be that my children quarantine at home here in Brussels for two weeks before getting a flight to Dublin and from there directly to the school. It has been a very stressful time for the children being cut off from all their school friends since March 13th. Now they need a simple solution in time to make their transition back to school as smooth and seamless as possible without the stress of not knowing the rules about returning. Their school is unable to tell me what the rules are.

Surely the Minister and the Department of Education have after all these many months made a decision on what is the best way forward? – Yours, etc,

AILEEN O’BEIRNE,

Brussels,

Belgium.

Sir, – I am a student at Mercy College Sligo secondary school. In recent months it has become apparent that many of the arrangements and plans set out for the school year cannot be confirmed.

As I’m going into Transition Year, my chances of any work experience will be greatly affected. This is a vital part of TY that helps us gain independence, set foundations to earn our own money and contribute to the economy. It also gives us a sense of purpose. So it is quite frustrating that under present restrictions the likelihood of such work experience happening is very low.

I ask you to remember how important this year is for us students. Many pupils wanted to make the most of their skills and ambition this year. If that were not to happen it would make even more of a mockery out of Ireland’s education system, its leaders and ministers and the Government as a whole.

Teenagers are the generation rising, the generation that will one day run this country. And whether it is an academic or transition year should not determine our importance to the Government. – Yours, etc,

ANNIE BUICK,

Co Sligo.

Sir, – The Minister of Education is reopening schools to all, with no need to wear masks.

Does the Minister and the school management, not have a “duty of care” to all users of the school – staff, students and others who attend the school? – Yours, etc,

MONICA JOY,

Celbridge,

Co Kildare.

Sir, – The publication of the Roadmap for the Full Return to School marked the continuation of planning for the reopening of schools in late August.

The efforts which will be involved will allow young people to reintegrate back into the classroom and be part of their school community once again. It will also allow much of the rest of society to return to greater routine.

The past few months have demonstrated that school is at the heart of the community. Every effort and necessary resource ought to provided to schools to ensure this continues to be the case for the benefit of our students and wider society moving forward. – Yours, etc,

KIERAN SPARLING,

Limerick.

Sir, – How in the name of all that is rational is it acceptable for hundreds of pupils to arrive in a post primary schools to sit indoors in classes of more than 20 pupils, to be socially distanced by a metre at most, where they will not be obliged to wear face masks, for double classes for more than five hours per day?

Is this happening anywhere else in the country? – Yours, etc,

LEE HEALY,

Co Cork.