Wednesday, 29 July 2020
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
Yesterday, we had a debate on education. I received an email this morning from a very frustrated principal. I have been contacted by several principals. The principal asked if schools will be responsible for taking children's temperatures at the point of entry to the school. Children from more affluent areas will be returning from continental holidays even though their families were advised not to go on them. Who will police this? Will we ask principals or teachers to police who can and who cannot enter the classroom? I have been asked about parental access to the school. Parents are currently only allowed into schools by appointment. Will they be banned from entering the school altogether? After-school services provided in some schools, particularly national schools, involve children moving from the classroom they have been in all day to another one. Who will sanitise the classroom they move to and how will this be done? Parents will deem some children weak or prone to illness and decide not to send them to school. Who will be responsible for delivering education to those children and how will it be done? I refer also to after-school sports and other services. How will school areas be sanitised when one class finishes and another wishes to start? Many questions are arising on the reopening of schools, and it behoves all of us in this House to ensure clarity for the principals who will be running them.
I note the issue of Aer Lingus, raised by Senator Buttimer. A senior moment almost stopped me from remembering Senator Dooley. In 2015, Senator Sean Barrett and I warned that we were selling off the family jewels and we would rue the day we flogged Aer Lingus.