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Teachers call on Government to postpone reopening of schools in midst of Omicron wave

Teachers want the government to postpone school resumption during the Omicron wave.

ASSTI believes instructors worry for their health and safety, and that classroom teaching should not begin on Thursday as planned.
Yesterday, 16,986 new Covid-19 cases were reported, with the Omicron variation remaining the virus’s prevalent strain in Ireland. 804 Covid-19 individuals were hospitalised, 93 in ICUs.

Preventing high-risk teachers from entering the classroom is a priority for ASTI President Eamon Dennehy.

“The priority must be that children and school personnel can learn and function in a safe environment,” he said.

“The ASTI will propose a delayed and staggered reopening of schools to Department of Education and Public Health officials today (TUES).

Direct instruction with examination courses is preferred.

To enhance the existing testing and tracing framework in second-level schools, we will ask the Minister to consider making antigen tests available to all parents and children.”
Meanwhile, the rapidly spreading Omicron variety has isolated thousands of people, causing personnel shortages and possibly business closures.

Thousands of workers will not return to work today following the Christmas break due to Covid-19 or close contact.

The health industry is already grappling with significant absenteeism owing to Covid-19, and the HSE warns that staff shortages would force certain hospitals to reduce non-essential activity.

Staff isolated after being diagnosed with the virus or determined to be a close contact may prevent creches, schools, and other enterprises from reopening.

As the Omicron variety spreads, fewer healthcare workers are available to care for sick individuals, according to David Hall, CEO and creator of Lifeline Ambulance Service.
The Irish Daily Star quoted him as saying: “The amount of employees with COVID-19 or affected by it is a big issue. It’s a major issue for the entire health care system.” We’ll have less employees to work, therefore patients won’t be relocated or treated. It’s a risky situation for all.

“This week is crucial. Staff are drained but must keep going.

“They’re absolutely spent. The risk of COVID-19 exposure is always present, but healthcare personnel must continue to care for the patients.

“That’s the problem. Healthcare workers must be kept healthy to treat patients.”

Some creches are closed this week because to staff shortages and Covid-19-related absenteeism.

According to Elaine Dunne of the Federation of Childcare Providers, some creches would never reopen, while others may only operate for critical staff.
said: “It prevents us from reopening. Not all of us can open fully, and some can’t open at all.

“We have solid protocols to keep everyone safe, but we don’t have enough employees to open.

“We plan to provide childcare for vital and frontline staff for the next two weeks before returning to full capacity.

“It would relieve services at this point. Close contact isolation guidelines may change, putting us and the kids in danger.

“We all need to be kept safe and healthy. In the next two weeks, we need to get back to providing services for frontline and crucial workers, and I hope the Government will listen.”

Teachers may not be able to return to work on Thursday owing to Covid-19, causing concern among parents.
Parents Association of Education and Training Boards calls for gradual return to school.
President O’Gorman: “The NPHET recently predicted that this wave could peak at 50,000 per day by mid-January, thus reopening schools should be done with caution to protect everyone’s safety.

“We propose a staggered school reopening, with Leaving and Junior Cert students returning on January 10.

“Open the other classes over the next two weeks based on daily caseload.

“This would help parents, schools, and instructors deal with the expected wave of illness in the community.

Despite the 8pm limit on hospitality, restaurants, pubs, and bars are struggling to staff.

According to the Restaurants’ Association of Ireland’s Adrian Cummins, 30 percent of hospitality workers are out of work because to Covid-19 or close contact.
stated he “Our industry has suffered greatly. It has halted hospitality.

“Others can’t open. It’s a serious situation.

For a crucial service like hospitality, the government must relax the close contact restriction.

Meanwhile, increasing staff absenteeism puts pressure on crucial supply systems.

Irish Business and Employers Confederation CEO Danny McCoy claimed up to 18% of food production and retail distribution employees

Hospitals are under pressure because to overcrowding and staff absence due to Covid-19, says Irish Nurses and Midwives General Secretary Phil N Sheaghdha.
She told RTÉ’s News at One: “It’s difficult, and our acute hospitals are always busy at this time of year.

“Combine that with personnel becoming sick and needing to miss work, and you’ve got the ideal storm.

In spite of having told the HSE and the Department of Health for weeks that the acute hospitals needed greater help in January, here is where we are.

Airlines, including Aer Lingus, aggregated flights to address staff shortages.

It’s been a busy week for the Irish Prison Service and the Dublin Fire Brigade.
Eamon Ryan, leader of the Green Party, said the Government will look at shortening the self-isolation period for those who test positive for Covid-19.

The alterations may affect patients who test positive for Covid-19 but are asymptomatic or resolving symptoms.

The Government may also revisit close contact isolation restrictions.