Thursday, 30 July 2020
Opening of Schools and Calculated Grades: Statements
Brilliant. I thank the Minister for taking the time to speak to us this evening. I want to ask her about recommendation 5 of the framework to reopen schools. I will read it out just so she knows what I am referring to. It states "For those larger classes which remain difficult to accommodate consider a live streaming of that class to another room or area in the school." I have contacted a number of schools both in my own constituency and around Dublin to ask them about these overflow classrooms and I have been met with some surprise that this was even a consideration. Has the Minister's Department done an analysis as to how many schools have capacity for overflow classrooms? Could she speak to the requirements for supervision to take place in these overflow classrooms? Does she think schools will have enough teachers on standby to go into a class of four or five students? Is the technology available to achieve same? I ask because at a meeting today of the Joint Managerial Body of more than 600 school principals, this was the number one issue raised. When principals raised the issue that they do not have overflow classrooms, they were told perhaps they could get Portakabins. Is it the Department's understanding that where these overflow classrooms do not exist, schools must get Portakabins into which they can then stream live? In addition, is the Minister aware there is currently a shortage of school tables from suppliers? I refer to the single tables that are to be put in according to the roadmap.