Written answers

Thursday, 10 September 2020

Department of Education and Skills

Covid-19 Pandemic

Sorca Clarke (Longford-Westmeath, Sinn Fein)
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126. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the number of primary and secondary schools in counties Longford and Westmeath that do not have hot water facilities; and the steps that have been taken to rectify same in preparation for children returning to school during the Covid-19 pandemic. [23212/20]

Norma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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The specific information requested by the Deputy regarding the number of primary and post-primary school that have access to hot water in the counties in question is not readily available within my Department.

Health guidance states that, while warm running water is preferable for handwashing, cold water is sufficient.  In schools which do not have warm running water, a soap that emulsifies easily in cold water will be provided.

It is also recognised that the existing handwashing facilities in schools are not designed for the enhanced level of handwashing envisaged in a post COVID-19 environment without significantly impacting on educational class time including the requirement for a high level of supervision by teachers to ensure pupils wash their hands properly.  

The public health guidance also states that hand sanitiser can be used. Hand-sanitisers in key areas in every school in the country, as well as in every classroom, are being provided.  To enable the supply of sanitiser fluid for each school, a drawdown framework for use by schools to purchase sanitiser etc. (as well as other potential PPE requirements) is in place and all schools have been advised accordingly.

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