Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills

Engagement with Trade Unions on Keeping Schools Open: Discussion

Mr. John Boyle:

We do not yet know the situation regarding ventilation. We know what the HPSC has recommended. We know the draft guidance that the Department has sent to us. The Department removed the sentence about the air monitoring systems from the draft advice. We issued a very strong response to the Department. We pointed out that with schools closed for two weeks at Christmas, the Department has the ideal opportunity to bring in contractors to fit air monitoring devices. It is not enough to say that schools built since 2008 have them and forget about all the rest. Every child and every worker is entitled to a well-ventilated system. It will save a fortune. A cheap monitor will tell staff when to open windows and when to switch on heating. The Government will not have to pay half as much in capitation grants to heat schools if monitoring is in place.