Our main priority is the get all students back to school safely and all staff back working says Cahill.

Noel Dundon

Reporter:

Noel Dundon

Email:

nd@tipperarystar.ie

classrooms

Classrooms have been empty in Tipperary since mid March

“I have been working with multiple schools across the county regarding this plan and I am glad to see many of the issues we lobbied on included."- Jackie Cahill

Tipperary Deputy Jackie Cahill has welcomed the announcement by Education Minister Norma Foley T.D. of a roadmap for schools to re-open next month.

The package worth €375 million was finally unveiled after intense negotiations to ensure the best plan possible was put forward with priority on student and staff safety.

“I have been working with multiple schools across the county regarding this plan and I am glad to see many of the issues we lobbied on included. This comprehensive package will address many of the issues that principals and school staff have brought to my attention since schools closed last March”, the T.D. said.

Tipperary Deputy Jackie Cahill

“We are getting one million students and 100,000 staff back to work among 4,000 schools nationwide and keeping them open is priority. We are hiring 1,000 extra second level teachers and up to 120 guidance counsellor posts will be provided. We are hiring more SNAs and 17 additional educational psychologists will be employed through the National Educational Psychological Service to ensure mental health among students is addressed”, the deputy continued.

“We are also providing an extra €11.3 million to ensure safe school transport is continued. School cleaning will be a priority and an extra €52.2 million will be allocated for this. Sanitization and PPE equipment will also be supplied to all schools. All staff members deemed high risk will be replaced at a cost of €70 million while a scheme has also been introduced to fill the positions of all staff unable to work due to illness. This includes teachers but also caretakers, SNAs, secretaries and cleaners who form the cornerstone of our school communities”, he explained.

“A minor capital grant of €75 million will be provided to ensure all preparatory works are completed for the new environment in which classes will be carried out while an aide will be employed to each school to carry out all logistical issues regarding this to ensure a smooth change over.

I am delighted that this plan will bring clarity and reassurance to schools. I advise anyone with queries to contact my office. I hope to be in contact with many of these schools to ensure that they are the best prepared come next month. It will be a busy period for them”, the T.D. concluded.