Norma Foley says a full school return will 'absolutely not' be put on hold

Norma Foley says a full school return will 'absolutely not' be put on hold

The education minister said that there is the added bonus this year that all school staff will be vaccinated when student return in late August and September. Picture: Ben Birchall

The Minister for Education says children's education will "absolutely not" be put on hold if there is a spike in cases over the summer.

"I am bringing a memo to cabinet on Tuesday and basically all our plans are in place and we are preparing for a full return in late August and early September," Norma Foley said this morning.

"From a reassurance point of view, all our preparations are a consequence of ongoing collaboration and engagement, and consultation with public health," she said on Newstalk Breakfast.

"This is the same public health team that advised us so well last year, and that we managed to successfully keep our schools open and to do it safely.

"We continue to engage with public health right throughout the summer." 

They are very conscious of the need to ensure that our children are safely returned, so you can guarantee that we will, this September see our children returned to school.

Ms Foley acknowledged "comments yesterday have caused concern and anxiety for parents and guardians".

"Parents can be very reassured of how safely we operate services and that the same advices from public health are being put in place," Ms Foley said.

"We will continue with the mitigation measures that were required and students and staff are aware that there's hand sanitiser on arrival outside a classroom. 

"There's the detergents and wipe downs that are available inside the classroom. At second level all children are masked. 

"Of course, we have the added bonus this year that staff will be vaccinated. Our school transport will operate on 50% capacity as a matter of ventilation measures put in place for this."

CO2 monitors will be made available to schools that record CO2 above a certain level in the school, the Minister added.

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