Burke welcomes reopening of special schools

(Above) Minister for State Peter Burke (sitting, second from left) on a visit to St Brigid's School with the then Minister for Education Richard Bruton (sitting, centre) and then principal Bob Keating, in February 2018.

Minister of State Peter Burke has welcomed the news today that schools for children with special needs will reopen this day next week, January 21.

In a statement issued a short time ago, Deputy Burke said that since the announcement was made that schools would not be returning after the Christmas holidays due to the surge in Covid-19 cases his office has been "inundated from concerned parents and teachers who hoped to return to school, with all possible safeguards in place"

"We have learned lessons from the first lockdown, and it was clear that children with special needs suffered during their time away from school and many regressed without the support of their teachers, SNAs and the stability of their routine. We also saw the negative effects this had on mental health, on both students and parents.

"I phoned Minister Madigan on this issue last week and I have been forwarding her parents concerns in the interim, highlighting the individual situations of special education students here in this constituency and how important it was for them to return to school. I also made her aware of health concerns of some SNAs and teachers, and outlined it was important that no teacher or SNA who had serious health conditions should return to the classroom if it wasn’t safe for them to do so.

"I thank parents and the school community for their patience and I look forward to updating constituents with further details when they are made available," he said.

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