10th September 2021
Northern Committee Chairperson, Ms Marie O’Shea, responding to the overnight communications from PHA said:
“The letter from the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Sir Michael McBride today brings welcome relief to the extremely hard-working school leaders and staff who have shouldered the burden of managing the identification of COVID–19 close contact cases in our schools since the start of term.
She explained that…
While INTO acknowledge that the Minister of Education and health agencies have gone some way to responding to our members’ concerns on the issues around contract tracing, INTO nonetheless expects the PHA contact tracing staff to offer the assurance that they will work alongside our school communities in maintaining the safe learning environment that all children and staff require.
Ms O’Shea continued…
INTO have always instructed our members in schools to follow the PHA guidance and this advice still applies. Our members should continue to keep the full range of mitigations in place to maintain their school as safe places for children and staff. The wider community must also heed the messages from the CMO to play their role in helping school communities to achieve this.
INTO members welcome this development as an opportunity to refocus their energies on the job they do best, supporting children and young people with their teaching and learning.
She concluded by saying:
Our members should be reassured that if these amended arrangements do not provide the confidence to continue with the important job of education, then INTO will be at the forefront of any challenge needed to support our members in bringing about the necessary measures required to operate safely our nursery, primary and post-primary schools.”