PRESS RELEASE: INTO calls for COVID-19 testing and PPE for schools

INTO is very aware of the continuing issues in relation to the lack of Personal Protective Equipment, and adequate testing for Covid-19 across the NHS.

Mr Gerry Murphy, INTO Northern Secretary said:

“Given the vital, complementary role that teachers are performing in providing a supervised, safe environment for the children of those key workers who are unable to find a viable alternative option to care for their children at home, INTO is concerned that its members are being left exposed without the reassurance of COVID-19 testing or the requisite PPE.

There is an inherent danger that the current strategy, being pursued in the education sector, may lead to an accelerated spread of the virus among our members and their families and that the virus may be transferred directly to the parents of the children availing of ‘supervised learning’ in our schools, the very key workers this strategy is designed to protect.

There is strong evidence from the World Health Organisation to suggest that countries performing significantly more tests than have been available in the UK and Ireland are seeing significant decreases in mortality rates and a ‘flattening the curve’, taking pressure off the health service.”

Mr Murphy continued:

“For this reason, INTO is calling for increased testing, not only for our members but throughout society, during and after the lockdown period, particularly for key workers and those supporting them.”

INTO calls on the Stormont Executive, as a matter of urgency, to ensure that adequate testing is provided for teachers and other staff who are currently in schools facilitating supervised learning to children of key workers, and that adequate levels of PPE are provided to all staff to ensure that key workers’ children are afforded the levels of protection they are entitled to.