Foley: 'An absolute determination' to keep schools open


Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.34 16 Oct 2020


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The Education Minister Norma Foley says if the country goes to level five, she would seek public health advice in relation to schools remaining open.

NPHET has advised the Department of Health that schools are not amplifying the case numbers.

It comes as Northern Ireland is closing its schools as part of a wider lockdown there.

The mid-term school holidays there have been extended to two weeks.

Minister Foley told Newstalk Breakfast that schools continue to be a safe place to be.

"At all stages, we have in our schools underpinned our activity on the basis of the public health advice available to us."

"The public health advice available to us, and the indeed the national and international experience, tells us that schools are safe places, low-risk environments - and that's largely due to the measures and resources that have been put in place.

"But perhaps more importantly the more generous manner in which they're being implemented in our schools by school communities.

"Equally so, studies were showing that if you were to look at COVID-19 cases in children prior to returning to school and now six weeks into school there is little or no differential there".

On any movement to level five restrictions, she said: "I think there is an acknowledgement in each of the levels one to four that it would be important for our students - and we're aware that when students are out of school how disadvantaged they can be.

"And again as I say from level one to four, the public health advice to us is that the schools would remain open.

"And indeed you will recall in the general discussion between the partners in education and general society there has been an absolute determination to keep our schools open.

"But it is very important to say that at level five we would of course follow the public health advice available at that point".

"I'm being very clear that it says that at level five that we would consult the public health advice available at that time, and that is nothing new to us in the education sector".

Foley: 'An absolute determination' to keep schools open

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Main image: Minister for Education Norma Foley arriving for a press conference on the errors found in Leaving Cert calculated grades system in the Department of Education, Dublin. Picture by: MAXWELLS / RollingNews.ie

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Coronavirus Restrictions Covid-19 Education Keep Schools Open NPHET Newstalk Breakfast Norma Foley

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