INTO awaiting clarification on school access

Following publication of the government’s roadmap for reopening society and business, key questions on when and how school staff will have access to their school buildings remain unanswered.

The plan set out by government states that from next Monday (May 18), school buildings will be opened to allow access by teachers for the organisation and distribution of remote learning.

Opening of school and college buildings for access by teachers for organisation and distribution of remote learning”

Speaking in the Dáil chamber yesterday, Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD commented:

Access to schools will be allowed from Monday 18th. While this is not a return to work within the meaning of the protocol, it will allow for staff to access the school where needed to support continuity of teaching and learning.”

INTO has written to the Department of Education and Skills seeking clarification and guidance in respect of this measure on Wednesday, 6 May 2020.

To date, we have received no direct response. Stakeholders were informed at the Primary Education Forum yesterday that access to school buildings for teachers would be very limited and that guidance would issue from the Department of Education and Skills.

What is clear from the governments roadmap is that from Monday, May 18, the nationwide restriction on travel outside 5 km of a home remains in place. Citizens are obliged to continue to avoid unnecessary journeys and remote working is to continue for all workers than can do so.

The government roadmap also refers to arrangements for the control of population density on site in education facilities to facilitate social distancing and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.