Sinn Féin MLA Pádraig Delargy has called on the education minister to urgently revisit her approach to managing COVID in our schools.
The Foyle MLA said:
“The new school term is almost upon us and the Education Minister has failed to produce a plan to make our classrooms safer.
“Principals have been open and honest in recent weeks as they describe the deterioration of the situation in many of our schools.
“A lack of appropriate guidance, a lack of adequate safety mitigations, a soft touch contact tracing policy, and a lack of available substitute teachers have put many of our schools in difficult positions with many having to resort to partial closures.
“The Omicron variant may also present new challenges, so I am urging the Minister to revisit her approach to COVID in schools.
“ We put these concerns directly to the Minister in the weeks before Christmas and called on her to produce a comprehensive plan which puts HEPA filters in all classrooms, which sets out a contact tracing policy teachers and families can have confidence in and to speed up the redeployment of qualified teachers from non-pupil facing positions back into the classroom.
“The Minister keeps telling us she wants to keep schools open. We agree, but it would appear she has squandered the opportunity over the Christmas break to develop a plan.
“We will continue to make the case to the Minister for a new approach to COVID in our schools.