01 July, 2020 – Minister Foley welcomes publication of interim public health advice for re-opening schools

The Minister for Education Norma Foley TD today, Wednesday 1 July, welcomed the publication of interim public health advice from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) in relation to the re-opening of schools. 

The interim public health advice is being published this afternoon.  In addition, a draft Covid-19 plan will be issued to primary schools that provides schools with information about the measures being progressed to support the sustainable reopening of schools. Engagement with stakeholders on the public health advice and planning process for both primary and post-primary schools will continue over the coming weeks. 

Minister Foley said: “I am pleased to publish this interim public health advice, which will inform the development of clear guidelines for implementation in schools.  We all want to support the education system so that we can welcome our pupils and staff across our school communities back into a safe environment later in the year.  We will continue to work with the public health experts over the course of the summer to update the interim advice as necessary.  

“This interim advice provides a platform for deep engagement with all of the school stakeholders over the coming weeks: principals, teachers and all school staff, students, parents and education partners. 

“I was very pleased to begin meeting a wide range of stakeholders this morning. I am struck by the commitment that everyone has towards providing the best possible experience for the whole school community to return to school as safely as possible and as fully as possible in September.” 

“There is great willingness to work together and I am confident that with ongoing engagements with all stakeholders and work by my officials schools will be enabled to plan the safe return of their communities. 

“It is my utmost priority that student and staff safety and wellbeing is to the forefront in all of the planning. I will be ensuring with my officials that we have support materials available to schools that recognise the experiences of students, teachers and all school staff and of parents, and the part they will all play in returning to school safely. 

“I also want to acknowledge the hard work that school communities have put in over the past number of months. I hope that the planning work being done and the clarity that we provide today will enable each member of the school community to get a well-deserved break and rest during the summer.” 

The interimpublic health advice can be found here: https://www.education.ie/en/covid-19/interim-recommendations-for-the-reopening-of-schools-and-educational-facilities.pdf