Monday, September 06, 2021

Vivienne Clarke

CO2 monitors to indicate ventilation requirements have failed to arrive in “most schools” amid delays, according to the general secretary of the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI).

Michael Gillespie told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that teachers remain anxious about Covid-19 despite low positivity rates of the virus in schools.

There was still anxiety about issues such as long Covid, he said, and everyone in the school community — teachers, students and parents — needed to be vigilant.

“We will be trying to make schools as safe as possible,” he said.

It was very good news that positivity rates were not rising in schools, he said, but the figures would be monitored very carefully because the Delta variant was so transmissible.

Scarcity

Mr Gillespie said there was also frustration about the delay in getting CO2 monitors out to schools, most of which have not arrived.

Schools were already open but “most schools” had not yet received their CO2 monitors, he said.

When asked if the union had a budget from which they could purchase their own monitors, he said that there was a scarcity of the devices worldwide and that the Department of Education had purchased them centrally.

Mr Gillespie urged any teacher, student or parent who was symptomatic to stay out of school, even if they had been vaccinated.

If a teacher became ill that could have an impact on between 250 to 300 students in a week, he said.

“We have to be vigilant, keeping it (virus) out of schools is very important.”

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