29th January 2021
The INTO has been advised that the Department of Education has this morning written to principals. In this letter the department notified schools that the Government has made a decision on foot of public health advice to extend the level 5 restriction measures in place to suppress the spread of COVID-19, and as part of these measures to continue the current phase of school closure at present.
This decision has been made in the context of wishing to avoid the movement of the full one-million strong school-going population daily.
The Department stated that the closure of schools will be kept under ongoing review by Government and that it is a priority for Government to address the needs of children with special educational needs and provide additional supports for these children during this period of closure, in line with public health advice.
The Department of Education is engaging closely with stakeholder representatives including the INTO and FÓRSA during this limited period, to work towards achieving consensus on a satisfactory way forward to ensure a safe phased resumption of school based provision in special schools and special classes. This remains a high priority for all partners including the INTO.
The Department is also continuing to work with education partners to ensure that all schools can safely fully reopen, in line with public health advice.
The letter also provides a guidance document on remote learning that summarises information and guidance provided in recent weeks, alongside additional guidance being made available today.
The note includes:
- Guidance on remote learning.
- Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST).
- National Centre for Guidance in Education (NCGE) supports.
- Inspectorate arrangements to June 2021.
- Supports for parents (continuity of schooling guidance, online safety, curriculum tagged resources and wellbeing supports).
- Supports for parents of children with special educational needs.
- Support for Traveller parents.