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11.12 1 Aug 2020


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Some schools will be 'challenged' to reopen on time at the end of this month despite extra funding to protect pupils and staff.

A support package of €375 million was announced earlier this week to include hiring extra teachers and purchasing PPE.

The plans include 1,000 new teaching posts being made available at post-primary level to help reduce class sizes as well as recommending that primary pupils and teachers work in 'class bubbles' which stay apart from other classes as much as possible

John Curtis, from the Joint Managerial Body, told Newstalk Breakfast today that the money covers most of what schools need but some will still be under pressure to get pupils back on time.

He said: "This is a very generous package, there's no doubt about that.

"In particular instances, we will still be talking to the Department of Education about the resourcing in some of our schools

"Some schools will be more challenged than others because of the nature of the space that they have available.

"But in essence, we did have a shopping list for the Department for areas where we felt we needed extra assistance and they have come up in the context of the money."

Mr Curtis said that everyone needs to do their best to ensure the number of COVID-19 cases here stays low so children can return to school.

He said: "As a collective society, we all need to have responsibility here."

He said he was conscious that the last few months had been a very challenging time, particularly for post-primary schools working to have plans in place for reopening.

Mr Cutis added there would be extra teachers and provisions to maximise space in schools.

A major challenge will be implementing the one-metre social distancing rule, he said, with principals "going around with metre sticks" in schools this weekend.

He said if students or teachers are showing COVID-19 symptoms once schools reopen they need to stay at home, and that the Department of Education is working on a plan to communicate this.

Main image: File photo. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

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