Guidelines on masks in primary schools will change if needed, Minister says

ireland
Guidelines On Masks In Primary Schools Will Change If Needed, Minister Says
Minister for Education Norma Foley said that if any 'mitigating measures' were required in schools regarding masks or pregnant teachers, they would be implemented. Photo: PA Images.
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Vivienne Clarke

Minister for Education Norma Foley has said that if any “mitigating measures” were required in schools regarding masks for primary pupils, pregnant teachers and C02 monitors, they would be implemented.

Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show, Ms Foley said that her department had followed public health advice on Covid-19 at all times and if that changed, they would accept and implement new guidelines.

The Minister said that she was awaiting a decision from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) about the wearing of masks by primary school children. Once that was received, if any changes were required, they would be implemented.

It was the same situation with regard to pregnant teachers, she said. The advice from the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists was that pregnant teachers, even if unvaccinated, could return to the classroom. “If any of that changes, we will accept and implement.”

CO2 monitors

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Ms Foley said that C02 monitors, which had been ordered three months ago, were “arriving” at schools, but that in the meantime school staff were “very practical” and aware of the importance of natural ventilation, doors, windows etc.

If any school was experiencing difficulty emergency works could be provided, she said.

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When asked about the format of the Leaving Cert in 2022 the Minister said that planning was in the direction of a traditional exam structure, but that the situation remained under review until the end of Covid-19.

On the issue of the controversy surrounding the appointment of Katherine Zappone, Ms Foley said that the most important work was the work of Government.

While she said she respected the right of Barry Cowen to express his view, there would be an opportunity next week at a Fianna Fáil gathering for “frank discussion and debate.”

The Taoiseach was “an excellent leader” who had provided “sterling leadership” during the “most challenging of circumstances”, the Minister added.

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