Wednesday, 1 December 2021
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
In relation to there being an opportunity for schools to take a flexible approach, as they always do, they have that flexibility in the coming days. The vast majority of parents are aware, as I am, that many children wore masks on the word of the CMO last week. We are taking an approach advised by public health. The measure is regarded as an additional tool for the benefit of our schools and we are implementing it. We ask parents to co-operate as they have done magnificently up to this point. I have no doubt they will do so going forward. It is operating seamlessly at second level. This is a mirror reflection of a measure regarded by public health as a public health measure.
On resources going into schools, about which the Deputy made an inference, over €700 million has been expended on resources being made available to schools for a variety of infection prevention and control measures. Ventilation is considered on a case-by-case basis, as the Deputy will appreciate, because no two schools have the same requirements. It is the strong advice that natural ventilation is best but where there are specific issues, the Department has engaged on a case-by-case basis with schools, whether it is for increased vents, windows or whatever. Moneys have been paid, work has been done and if HEPA filters are required, that is also a measure.