Returning to school – where’s the plan?
Sir, – I read Fintan O’Toole’s “Lack of preparation for reopening schools is terrifying” (Opinion & Analysis, July 20th) with interest and apprehension. I am a parent of two school-going children (secondary and primary) and like all other parents of school-going children, I am awaiting information of what will happen in September when my children are due to return to school.
Minister for Education Norma Foley’s address to the Dáil stated no provision has been made in the estimates in relation to Covid-19 preparedness for schools. In addition, the department in its own document “Planning for Re-opening Schools” deems it not feasible to work out what is required for schools to reopen at full capacity.
The Government approach seems to be one of wait and see – do nothing then the schools will have to sort it out themselves. It appears that the Government would prefer to avoid a confrontation with the teachers’ unions than serve the interests of pupils and parents. I know of one secondary school that has already taken matters into its own hands and has contacted parents, stating pupils will attend school for two days per week, with “blended learning” for the rest. This is not acceptable. “Blended learning” is far from ideal. The pupils, parents, teachers and schools deserve better.
This generation of children will be the lost generation. The damage after four months of no school has already been inflicted mentally, socially, emotionally and educationally. I dread the next few months, as I try to help both my children with their schoolwork. I had my doubts over the appointment of Minister for Education Norma Foley and so far she has done nothing to change my opinion. – Yours, etc,