Frigid temperatures in Dublin’s schools were slammed with an image of a thermostat showing a classroom suffering from single digits.
People Before Profit’s Paul Murphy tweeted the photo to draw attention to the unbearable temperatures children and staff had to endure today.
People were outraged by the unbearable conditions with temperatures not exceeding 9 degrees.
One person commented: “Who would let their children sit at 8 degrees Celsius all day is barbaric.”
Another said: “Remember there was a time when if the heaters broke, pipes froze or burst in schools, they were closed because they weren’t hot enough to work or teach!”
“Now it seems classrooms don’t need to be hot, as long as the heat is on, despite the heat coming out the window! ”
Dublin South West TD told Dublin Live it had received several photos showing the freezing temperatures in classrooms today.
He believes HEPA filters are needed in classrooms across the country, along with other measures to protect teachers and the younger members of our society.
He said: “Today I received many messages, including from students.
“HEPA filters wouldn’t mean you wouldn’t have to open the windows – you just wouldn’t have to open them that long, so the temperatures would be more manageable in school.”
He said schools are no longer safe due to the growing number of Covid-19 cases and the crisis is expected to continue.
He said: “In general, they [schools] are not safe.
“They could be made much safer than they are by adding HEPA filters, making FFP2 masks available free of charge to all teachers and students, and re-establishing contact tracing.
“Unfortunately, the government hasn’t done any of these things and the only line of defense against Covid is for the windows to be open during relatively cold temperatures.
“How are people supposed to teach and learn in these kinds of temperatures?
“Until the government takes action to say that we are installing HEPA filters in all classrooms, then the pressure will continue to grow.
“It will also be the absences of staff and students due to Covid, which are expected to continue.
“I think schools are facing a real crisis.”
INTO Secretary General John Boyle admitted that the first day back after the Christmas break came with its fair share of challenges.
He said: “Early comments from members on the ground are that today was an incredibly difficult first day back, with many students and staff restricting movement due to the virus contraction or close contact. .
“School leaders and teachers have been working a Trojan horse to reopen schools and provide classroom instruction to as many students as possible.
He thanked student teachers for the role they have played in maintaining schools and called for urgent action from government officials.
He said: “Without the support of the student teachers, the situation would have been even more difficult.
“Directors, largely abandoned by public health in the last term, need strong, consistent and swift support as they chart the uncertain days and weeks ahead.
“In order to maximize our chances of providing in-person teaching and learning throughout this term, we again call on the government to restore contact tracing in schools.
“Pregnant teachers have shared their anxiety and concerns with us and we have raised these issues with the Department of Education and Public Health. ”
A spokesperson for the Department of Education told Dublin Live that ventilation is just one of many public health measures in place to keep schools safe.
He said: “Updated guidance for schools on practical steps for the deployment of good ventilation practices in schools was provided at the end of May as a result of the work of a group of experts who carefully reviewed the role of ventilation in the management of COVID-19.
“It should be noted that the windows do not need to be opened so wide in windy / colder weather in order to achieve the same level of airflow in the classroom.
“This will help achieve the proper balance between ventilation and comfort levels during periods of colder weather.
“Opening the windows fully for a short period at the end of each school day avoids having to do the same thing again before the start of classes in the morning and helps more to manage the comfort of the classroom in the morning (the windows partially open should allow good ventilation to be obtained when classrooms are occupied).
“To provide additional support in the context of Covid-19, the payment of a small work subsidy of a total amount of 45 million euros for primary schools and specialized schools, as well as one-off funding of small Covid-19 works of 17 million euros for post-primary schools, was issued in December 2021.
“Because every school is different, individual schools are in the best position to decide how best to use this funding to meet their specific needs. Advice / assistance from a licensed engineer or licensed architect is an important source of support for schools.
“This will help ensure that proper solutions are put in place to resolve ventilation issues, including advice on the need for a HEPA air filter to deal with a poorly ventilated room.
“The Covid-19 capitation grant will continue to be the mechanism through which funding will be provided for school fees related to hand hygiene measures, PPE requirements and improved cleaning aids.”
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