One thousand primary schools are struggling to source substitute teachers, the Oireachtas education committee is expected to hear today.
The Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI), Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI), Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO), and Fórsa are expected to address the committee this morning to discuss school safety during Covid.
This is the first meeting of the committee with the educational unions since the ASTI secured a mandate for industrial action, up to and including strike action, from its members.
Earlier this week, the TUI called for serious consideration to be given to extending the school Christmas holidays as a once-off measure.
Issues in primary schools are being dealt with more efficiently in the last month, the INTO is expected to say in its opening address to the committee.
However, principals along the border, where there is a disconnect between Northern Ireland's public health agency the HSC and the HSE, need extra support, and schools are struggling to find substitute cover.
The union is also expected to ask that a strong message be sent to families who travel abroad over Christmas, that children will have to restrict their movements in line with public health advice before returning to school.
Meanwhile, the ASTI, the TUI, and the INTO have called for pay parity within the teaching profession. In a joint statement, the unions said the Government last year committed to resolving the issue within the next public sector pay agreement.
"We hold our Government to their word and expect pay equality to be confined to the history books in the coming public sector pay agreement," the unions stated.