This morning at a meeting of the NAPD regional chairpersons, representatives, and secretaries high levels of anger and frustration were expressed in relation the DES announcement yesterday. Principals and Deputy Principals are the greatest advocates for the academic and wellbeing needs of all students including the Leaving Certificate, LCA, and SEN students.
NAPD has asked the Department to allow online teaching for all students next week to give time to logistically prepare to accommodate Leaving Certificate, LCA, and SEN students returning to school as announced by the DES and await further information from NPHET on the safe return to schools.
The expectation that the school can be ready to safely accommodate this request by next Monday is unrealistic. Careful planning is required to adjust timetables to cater efficiently and safely for returning students and teachers. It must also be borne in mind that there are almost no substitute teachers available to cover for teachers who are COVID positive or are identified as close contacts. Throughout this pandemic, the Principals and Deputy Principals have kept schools open safely.
Given the unprecedented levels of COVID in many communities members expressed serious concerns that they cannot guarantee the health and safety of staff and students in their schools. Principals’ and Deputy Principals’ paramount concern is to provide a safe environment for the entire school community.
NAPD believes that online learning for all students should take place next week and that further discussions should take place with the education partners and the Department.