The ASTI has requested a meeting with the Health Protection Surveillance Centre to outline the safety concerns of teachers as schools prepare to re-open from next week.
ASTI President Ann Piggott said that ASTI has been receiving large numbers of communications from teachers expressing their concerns, including their unease about the safety of students and teachers who have underlying illnesses and are in the high-risk category.
“School communities have been working hard to get schools ready for re-opening,” Ms Piggott said.
“Understandably, there is much trepidation amongst teachers as they begin what will no doubt prove to be an extremely challenging school year.
“The ASTI is seeking this meeting with the HPSC to have the concerns of teachers addressed, most especially teachers suffering from serious underlying illnesses.
“Given the evolving situation and the recent reappraisal of some of the advice provided by NPHET and HPSC, teachers have been expressing concerns about the health implications of a return to the classroom.”
The health and safety of all students and their teachers must be a priority, Ms Piggot said.
“As a union representing second-level teachers, the ASTI is demanding that teachers’ rights under health, safety, and welfare-at-work legislation be fully realised.”
The ASTI is seeking an expansion of accommodations by the DES – including remote teaching – to provide for teachers who fall into the various risk categories.
The ASTI Standing Committee met today (21 August 2020) and resolved that the following issues be addressed as a matter of urgency:
- The need to maintain adherence to social distancing in schools and classrooms:
- The need to address unequal pay and to offer permanent employment to teachers in precarious employment or those returning to the system;
- The need for the provision of laptops for students and teachers to ensure continued learning in the event of enforced school closures that may arise;
- The need to stagger the return to school by students over the coming weeks;
- The need for further investment in temporary and permanent school accommodation and infrastructure given the uncertainty about the duration of the public health emergency.
SOURCE: Materials provided by ASTI
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