The call from teachers’ unions and school managers to establish panels of substitute teachers so schools might reopen fully in September are rational.
Traditional arrangements are not only unequal to the challenge, they are, through no one’s fault, a threat to the health of school communities.
Talks between the Department of Education and partners will intensify over coming days to prepare the measures necessary to reopen schools safely in late August.
This is a gargantuan task and its complexity probably more challenging than is obvious, an impression underlined by Education Minister Norma Foley suggesting that guidelines will provide a good platform for further discussion to allow for only the “optimum” return to school.
If more teachers are needed it is likely that, in the short term at least, more venues will be needed to host classes of reduced size.
This seems a perfect opportunity for clubs, community organisations, individuals, or businesses with appropriate premises to offer them on a cost-only basis to support the common purpose so essential at this time.