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Carlow principal says a Christmas school holiday extension isn’t necessary

Simon Lewis of the local Educate Together believes Irish schools have kept case numbers low

An extension to the school Christmas holidays isn’t necessary in Ireland.

So says Simon Lewis, Principal of Carlow’s Educate Together.

It follows reports at the weekend from the European Centre for Disease Control, suggesting an extended school break in January would prevent a surge in Covid-19 cases.

But Simon says Irish schools have already managed to keep case numbers low, telling KCLR  “Certainly from an Irish context, I kinda speak from that, I think we’ve done really, really well and I don’t mean to self-praise but I think despite the odds we’ve done very well and I think there’s one thing we’ve all learned is keeping schools open is one thing we all want to do, as difficult as keeping schools open is”.

He adds that schools can safely stay open, noting “From a personal perspective if we’re going to be opening pubs and restaurants and things like that the schools obviously should be open, I mean the safety aspect of all these things are roughly the same, I mean if schools are slightly less safe than let’s say pubs and restaurants seem to be in statistics but I don’t think to an extent that we should close them I think what’s better maybe is to make them more safe, perhaps provide the relevant resources for schools such as PPE, we still haven’t got that”.

And in conclusion Simon says doing schoolwork from home is impossible for many families commenting “It’s no substitute really for face-to-face learning particularly for children who aren’t in situations where they have their families support to consolidate their learning that’s going from the school to the children and then we have a number of families who don’t have access to devices, access to the internet or good enough internet, never mind the children some teachers don’t have that sort of stuff so if it is to go to a situation like that all the same problems from lockdown one are going to come again”.