ASTI directs members to teach remotely
One of the main teaching unions says it "has not been provided with the necessary assurances that schools are sufficiently safe" and has this evening told its members to teach classes remotely.
The ASTI Standing Committee met today to discuss the announcement by the Minister for Education Norma Foley that special schools, special classes and specialised settings will be fully open from Monday 11 January, and that Leaving Certificate students will receive in-school teaching provision for three days a week. All other students are to be supported to learn remotely, the government has instructed.
ASTI says it was not consulted before that announcement.
"ASTI has not been provided with the necessary assurances that schools are sufficiently safe for students and teachers at this time, in the context of the new variant of Covid-19 circulating in the community and the alarmingly high numbers," it said in a statement this evening.
"Following the minister’s announcement, ASTI received a high number of communications from second-level teachers expressing concerns that the movement of more than 80,000 individuals to and from schools is not essential and poses a great threat to public health in the current context.
"The ASTI Standing Committee decided to direct its members not to co-operate with the arrangements announced by the minister for in-school teaching, but to engage in remote teaching and learning provision from Monday, January 11.
"The decision is based on significant concerns about the health and safety of students, teachers and other staff."
Speaking after the meeting, ASTI president Ann Piggott, said: “The ASTI has repeatedly sought sufficient assurances that schools are safe for students and teachers at this time, in the context of the new variant of Covid-19 circulating in the community and the alarmingly high numbers.
“We engaged with the Department of Education and with public health officials today. Unfortunately, the assurances we sought have not been forthcoming.”