Written answers

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Photo of Gary GannonGary Gannon (Dublin Central, Social Democrats)
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209. To ask the Minister for Health if he considers teachers, SNAs and school staff to be front-line workers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37377/20]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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I would like to acknowledge and commend the incredible effort made in all school communities throughout the country to continue to operate during the Covid-19 pandemic in the safest manner possible. The strong belief that schools are places of education, equity, opportunity and healthcare is coupled with the belief that they are places of safety during Covid-19 with the clear focussed attention to mitigating measures and Infection Prevention and Control recommendations as laid out in the national guidance documents for the education sector.

You may wish to note that my Department has been working closely with the Department of Education and the HSE to enhance the public health response to Covid-19 within educational facilities and the HSE's Schools Working Group has supported this response through the provision of a Central Administration Team.  The Schools Working Group has further supported the necessary communications and documents which have been required over the course of the return to school. Further information on the Health Protection Surveillance Centre's (HPSC) Guidance for the Education sector is available here:-.

I would like to assure you that the HSE will continue to work with our educational partners advising parents, pupils and staff of the importance of adherence to national public health measures to ensure schools can remain open in a safe environment.

Measures such as those introduced at level 5 are aimed at limiting the spread and damage of COVID-19, and are necessary to protect what our key priorities of supporting and maintaining health and social care services, keeping education and childcare services open and protecting the most vulnerable members of our communities.

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