Following on from meetings held yesterday between the Minister for Education, her Department officials, public health representatives, school management bodies and union officials, the decision has been made to reopen schools as planned tomorrow, January 6th. We are still awaiting further guidance documentation which is due to issue today. This will contain further information regarding antigen testing, isolation periods, mask wearing, etc.
Throughout this academic year to date, school management teams working with the LWETB Human Resources Department, have done all that they possibly could to ensure that our schools remained fully opened to all year groups. Staff absences as a result of Covid-19 related issues coupled with teacher and substitution shortages have made this a very difficult task. No year group throughout LWETB has been asked to remain at home to this point. However, current and projected absence rates will mean that this will become increasingly difficult in the days and weeks ahead. Schools and LWETB will continue to do all that we can to ensure education for our students continues as planned but it is likely that at stages, year groups will be asked to remain at home. Schools will give as much notice as possible where such a scenario presents itself. We understand the inconvenience that this will cause for parents/guardians, these are not decisions that are made lightly but we have to continue to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of our students and staff is maintained.
We urge you to have a conversation with your child prior to returning to school in relation to continuing their adherence to current guidelines around mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing and sanitising in light of the high case numbers within the community.
Director of Schools, Youth and Music.