Teachers in Ireland face similar conditions to counterparts in UK – but pupils must wear masks
Irish teaching union ASTI is to ballot its members for strike action over the unsafe conditions teachers – even those at high risk of COVID-19 complications – are being forced to accept.
The move comes amid widespread unrest among Irish workers over the Dublin government’s failures and decisions, with health workers threatening industrial action if concerns about pay and the treatment of health staff are not resolved.
Teachers have raised concerns about failures on issues such as physical distancing; the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE); the definition of close contacts; testing and testing turnaround times; provisions for high risk teachers; and information technology resources for students and teachers to facilitate remote teaching and learning.
While conditions teachers in Ireland face are mostly similar to those in the UK, the classroom setting for Irish teachers is safer in one vital respect – because in Ireland (and consequently in Northern Ireland) pupils – at least in secondary schools – are required to wear facemasks in class unless there are overriding medical reasons against it, while in England they are forbidden to do so, except in corridors and so-called ‘communal areas’.
Tory policies and Labour’s lack of objections have led to an exponentially-rising second wave of infections in the UK, with England fuelling most of the increase – yet even the new, brief lockdown being mooted for the UK does not involve school closures, even though school outbreaks are endemic and the government’s own scientists acknowledge schools are contributing to the rising ‘R rate’.
It’s time for parents and teaching unions to say ‘enough’ – and for Labour to support them, instead of supporting Boris Johnson’s Tories in all their school policies, as Keir Starmer promised again to do this weekend.
The SKWAWKBOX needs your help. The site is provided free of charge but depends on the support of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here to set up a monthly donation via GoCardless (SKWAWKBOX will contact you to confirm the GoCardless amount). Thanks for your solidarity so SKWAWKBOX can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.
If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.