Official education department guidance on arrangements for the phased re-opening of school-based special education services has now been published. This follows Fórsa’s decision to back the department’s proposals against a backdrop of declining numbers of Covid-19 cases and significant improvements in school safety measures.
The departmental guidance was developed on the basis of intense engagement with Fórsa and the INTO, and in the context of a wider phased reopening of primary and post-primary school services.
You can read the framework document HERE. It contains details of the reopening plan that will apply during the period of partial re-opening of schools. It includes:
- Confirmation of the dates for the phased reopening of special schools and special classes
- Provisions for high-risk staff including those aged over 60
- New advice on provision of surgical/medical grade masks to all SNAs and teachers
- Flexibilities around remote working
- Measures to protect pregnant SNAs
- Temporary childcare provisions and supports
- Confirmation that higher levels of PPE should be used where there is a risk of aerosol spreading procedures
- Details of student attendance patterns and flexibilities for SNAs to continue to provide remote support to students who cannot attend school
- Confirmation that parents can avail of a cash grant for travel to school rather than use bus transport to reduce numbers
- Details on the fresh Covid-19 risk assessment process
- Confirmation of the enhanced HSE public health supports like testing and tracing
- Updated information on vaccination schedule.
Discussions are set to get underway on the potential reopening of mainstream primary classes. In the meantime, the education department has announced that the home tuition/care service will be available to parents and students who are not able to attend schools for a four-week period. This is the same as the July provision service and it’s a voluntary programme where SNAs and teachers can volunteer to participate.
Read the framework document HERE.