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Local principal welcomes the ending of mandatory face mask wearing in schools of Carlow, Kilkenny and across the country

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan also proposed that NPHET be disbanded

A Kilkenny secondary school principal has welcomed the news that mandatory face mask wearing is set to end in schools later this month.

NPHET made the recommendation yesterday, suggesting that face mask-wearing only remain mandatory in certain healthcare settings.

The Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan also proposed that NPHET be disbanded.

Shane Hallahan, Principal of Presentation Kilkenny says that while some teachers and students will be nervous of the change, it is good news overall; “I suppose there are people who are nervous about it and people that will be nervous about it I suppose amongst teachers, amongst students and we have to bear that in mind and then on the other side I think it’ll be fantastic for us to see all the students faces, we’ve first years that have come into us, we’ve second years that have come into us and you know they’ve had masks on the whole time and just to see those facial expressions and I think for students to see those facial expressions from teachers that’s great but I just think everybody has to bear in mind that we need to be patient with people who will be nervous about it and who will be worried about it”

Mr Hallahan says that the move is particularly positive for those in post-primary school settings, where vaccination rates are high; “Obviously there will be some people that will still be quite nervous about it and because I suppose in a school setting you are coming across so many different people, but again I suppose the positive for our secondary schools is that so many of our students have been vaccinated now and I think that’s great, I think maybe it’s possibly a little bit different in the primary schools settings where there hasn’t been that huge uptake for vaccinations so I suppose different people will look on it in different ways but I think on the whole people will welcome that, welcome that freedom”.

And he adds that teachers and students should trust the advice of NPHET; “People were sometimes critical of NPHET because they felt they were too cautious, so my way of looking at this is NPHET are calling this and we listen to the experts, I think they’ve guided us very well right throughout this, I know people criticised maybe the Government or NPHET at points but I do feel that they have guided us very, very well, I think they are cautious and I don’t think they would be removing this as a safeguard if there was any danger in it”.