Source: Social Democratic and Labour Party of Northern Ireland
SDLP Education Spokesperson, Daniel McCrossan MLA has said that there is serious concern at the prospect of schools reopening next week, given the numbers of COVID-19 cases and presence of a new variant.
He has said the SDLP will seek to recall the Assembly this week to compel Minister Weir to act to protect pupils and teachers.
The West Tyrone MLA commented:
“Today in the North, there were more than 1,500 COVID-19 cases recorded and 20 deaths. I urge people to stay at home, following the public health advice to save lives.”
“There are also troubling reports that the Sage advisory panel may have recommended to the British Government to keep schools closed. This is a worrying picture and we have no answers from our own Education Minister.”
“In this context, with continued growing covid-19 levels across our community, the fact that schools across the North are due to return next week is concerning. There has been a lack of clarity, insufficient mitigations and support to assist our pupils and teachers. For weeks now, the SDLP has urged the Minister to provide this support to our school leaders and he has failed to do so.”
“Pupils, parents and teachers are wrought with anxiety at the prospect of children being brought back to schools next week. It is now essential that the Minister for Education outlines the medical and scientific evidence he has considered when deciding to dogmatically rule out an extended school holiday.”
“People have the right to know what is being done to ensure pupils and teachers can return to school and the SDLP will ensure that the Minister for Education can no longer duck and dive providing answers. The new variant has caused concern, we are in the middle of another lockdown, pupils, teachers and parents must have answers and they deserve them now, before any reopening.”