Irish Examiner view: Credit where credit is due

Back-to-school plan. We can expect the many groups in education to point out its shortfalls or omissions. However, credit where credit is due.
Irish Examiner view: Credit where credit is due
Minister Education Norma Foley TD has outlined a plan to get 1m children back to school. Picture: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

Education Minister Norma Foley has outlined an ambitious €375m plan to get 1m children back to school. It has received a broad if qualified welcome. 

Over the days and weeks ahead, we can expect the many groups in education to point out its shortfalls or omissions.

However, credit where credit is due. It is time to recognise all that is in the reopening roadmap, rather than bemoan what has been left out of it. There will be no zero-risk scenarios when schools reopen. 

We have seen that in other countries. One of the surreal advantages of a global pandemic is that we can crystal-ball gaze into the future, or at least a version of it, by looking to countries who are a few weeks ahead of us.

The picture emerging from some of those countries is that returning to school will pose challenges. There will be outbreaks of the virus. 

At times, it will feel as if we are taking one step forward, only to take two back. Getting the country’s children back to school, and keeping them there, is going to demand patience, tolerance, and quiet determination.

The pressures on parents who have been working and homeschooling cannot be overstated. The demands on teachers putting the plan into action will be immense. 

It is not helpful to up the ante any further. We could do worse than heed Norma Foley’s advice to take a “balanced and common-sense approach”.

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