Staff and pupils alike concerned over return to school


Staff are “very nervous” about the reopening of schools today, according to the INTO’s rep for Tipperary.

Principal of Cahir Boys National School, Brendan Horan, is among those preparing to welcome back kids after the Christmas break, despite widespread concern about the Omicron variant.

Many principals have been scrambling to find substitute teachers due to the amount of staff out with Covid-19, or as close contacts.

Brendan says schools are nervous about what lies ahead.

“The Government and public health have nailed their colours to the mast and we have to get on with it and go into schools.

“The staffing situation will be a huge concern for principals as well as ensuring that every class is covered. And we do know that some schools will be in a situation where they won’t have teachers for that cover.”

Heather Doyle is Tipperary Regional Officer for the Irish Second-level Students’ Union, and a Third Year student at Loreto Clonmel.

She says many kids are concerned about going back to school, and wants to see exam years and students in special education to be prioritised.

“The schools going back at full capacity – different years and different classes are sharing different classrooms so you don’t know who been sitting in your seat or who has been around in that area.

“Contact tracing would also be an quite issue when we go back but at least if you have maybe two or three years going back at a time it would be much easier to get a grasp on everything such as wearing masks, opening windows, contact tracing, knowing who sits where and things like that.”