Ill Thought Out Plans For Partial School Opening Whilst Virus Rages

People Before Profit call on Education Minister to abandon “ill thought out plans for partial school opening whilst virus rages”

People Before Profit have called on the Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD, to abandon the “ill thought out plans for a partial school reopening whilst the virus rages throughout the country.”

Bríd Smith TD outlined the concern of her party in a letter to school students attending an online public meeting tomorrow on the issue of the partial school reopening and the leaving cert.

The TD, in the letter, said: “We are not in agreement with the plan to bring 60,000 leaving cert students back into schools next week.  Repeating the mantra that “schools are safe” is simply ludicrous at this point.  When community transmission is at an all-time high right across the country it is abundantly clear that allowing 60,000 students gathering together, taking public transport, sitting in classrooms with teachers who may indeed have underlying conditions is just not an option.”

The party are also calling on the government to make a decision on this year’s state exams and said that the situation which occurred last year around the leaving cert must not happen again because of the stress and added pressure caused for students and families and the unfairness of some results which some students received. They pointed out that an eleventh hour decision from the Education Minister on the leaving cert would be to let down students.

Notes: Letter to students

Thanks for your e-mail.  The latest decision by the government with regards to schools is ill thought out and is not putting public health first.

We are not in agreement with the plan to bring 60,000 leaving cert students back into schools next week.  Repeating the mantra that “schools are safe” is simply ludicrous at this point.  When community transmission is at an all-time high right across the country it is abundantly clear that allowing 60,000 students gathering together, taking public transport, sitting in classrooms with teachers who may indeed have underlying conditions is just not an option. 

That is of course not to say that this final year of school  is not important, particularly for this year’s students who missed so much schooling last year, which is why we need the government and department of education to be planning for the next months.  Last year the delay in making a decision on the leaving cert exams put students under way too much stress and meant that the plans for the alternatives were rushed, were not fit for purpose and left many students disappointed.

We are calling on the department to make a decision now on the exams.  In Britain they have already made the decision to cancel GCSE’s and A Levels.  We believe that each student should have the right to choose whether or not they sit exams this year and if the department were to make a decision now and to get numbers of those that want to sit exams then they could plan to have those students sit them safely by identifying venues and invigilators.  Eleventh hour decision making is just not good enough.

In the longer term, People Before Profit believe that, as in France, anybody who wants to should be allowed to go to college.  Leaving cert style exams do not suit everyone and many people who do not necessarily excel in those kind of exams are well able to do a degree in something that they are interested in.  This kind of access to university would be much fairer and when coupled with no fees would allow for a much more equitable access to third level.

The government is under a lot of pressure on this issue and many leaving cert students are talking about staying at home next week in protest.  We support this action and our TD Brid Smith is holding a public meeting on the issue tomorrow afternoon at 3pm

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