Schools could reopen for children with special needs next week 1 month ago

Schools could reopen for children with special needs next week

Officials are working towards a "phased return" to schooling.

Schools could reopen for children with special needs next week.

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Following talks between the Department of Education, the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) and Fórsa trade union this morning, it is looking likely that such schools could reopen on January 21, alongside special classes for children with disabilities.

A statement issued today Minister for Education Norma Foley said that her team was working towards a "phased return" for children in special schools as well as those in special classes and those with additional needs.

She said: "During this lead into a phased commencement of in-school services at primary level, we are working in parallel with post-primary stakeholders to address their concerns and recognising that post-primary schools present different logistical challenges if a partial return is to be possible.

“I very much hope that we can work together to set out a pathway for the return of all children at all levels of schooling at the start of February, subject of course to government and public health consideration of what constitutes the safe movement of people at that point.”

It has been suggested that schools will welcome children back only if they deem it necessary.

Meanwhile, INTO has urged special needs teachers be moved higher up the vaccine priority list. "We expect the government to shortly re-state the commitment made this week by an Tánaiste that those who work in special education will be prioritised in this manner, thereby ensuring swifter access to the vaccine," they said.

Schools officially closed again earlier this month due to the staggering increase in Covid cases. 

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