Ireland’s Teachers Union Address Return To Campuses
The Teacher’s Union Of Ireland (TUI) have claimed that some institutions have failed to engage properly with stakeholders on the safe return to campuses of the 2021 academic year.
Expressing their concerns, the TUI have urged the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science to ensure that the key protective measures are adhered to nationwide.
The President of the Union, Martin Marjoram has also insisted that all mitigation measures must be strictly adhered to. He also added that no shortcuts can be taken regarding health and safety.
‘As staff and students return to campuses around the country, there is understandable anxiety around the continuing risks and challenges posed by COVID-19″, Marjoram said. “particularly in relation to the more transmissible Delta variant”.
He also added, “It is absolutely essential that key mitigation measures can be utilised consistenly”. These “measures” included “mask wearing, ventilation and distancing”. He also urged clear and consistent messaging that staff or students who have any COVID-19 symptoms should not attend campus”.
“Essential to ensuring the safety of all in college communities is the risk assessment of all classrooms, practical rooms, lecture halls and communal areas. In this regard, we are seriously concerned by the failure to date of some managements to engage and communicate with employees in a meaningful and timely manner”.
“Where they arise, TUI representatives are addressing such unacceptable situations locally. But the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science must do much more. They mus audit and ensure nationwide adherence to this and other essential safety measures”.
“There can be no short cuts taken where health and safety is concerned”.
Even before the pandemic began, the Union President said that the failure to address the funding issue damaged the sector. He added that significant funding is needed urgently.
‘With a significant projected increase in student numbers at third level, urgent action must be taken”, he said. “The move by consortia of institutes towards technological university status, significant additional funding must be provided”.
“Regrettably, we are yet to be convinced that this fundamental necessity is understood by Government”.