Schools in Northern Ireland are closing due to the Covid-19 threat
Pressure is mounting on the Northern Ireland Executive to follow the lead of the government in Dublin and close schools to combat the spread of Covid-19.
The Irish National Teacher’s Organisation (INTO) is holding an emergency meeting tonight, Monday, to discuss the situation in the North. Many of the parents of the 364 pupils in the Republic who attend primary and post-primary schools in Northern Ireland will be keeping their children off school in line with the closures here.
More than 4,300 students from the Republic attend further education colleges and higher education institutions in Northern Ireland.
Parents in Northern Ireland are also keeping their children at home in line with the closures across the border.
First Minister Arlene Foster said at the weekend that schools will close and when they do it will be for a minimum of 16 weeks.
INTO General Secretary John Boyle said the parents of two children with low immunity in the North were launching legal challenges over the decision by the Northern Ireland Executive to keep schools open.
The Donegal man said the boards of governors in some schools in Northern Ireland had already made the decision to close on health and safety grounds.
“Our view is that it makes no sense if we are trying to control the virus on the island of Ireland that all schools are not closed. Teachers are not scientists but if children would carry it - the best thing that would be to socially isolate them within their family unit. And we have the situation of children crossing Lifford Bridge to go to school in Strabane,” he said.
John Boyle: Better to be safe than sorry
“These children are coming home and possibly mixing in the community while school children here are in lockdown and advised to not be leaving the family unit and playgrounds are locked. You think of the action taken with foot and mouth to save that herd and you wonder why a different approach is being taken,” he said.
“I have a responsibility to my members and this seems to be a scientific experiment. No one is quite sure but my attitude is it is better to be safe than sorry.”
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