Statement by UNICEF Ireland on school closures

5th January 2021

The following can be attributed to UNICEF Ireland Executive Director Peter Power

DUBLIN 5 January 2021 – “The expected closure of schools for the month of January, while understandable, will impact children negatively and it must be a short-term measure. UNICEF Ireland wants schools to reopen as soon as possible, in order to mitigate the impact on students’ learning and wellbeing. We are appealing to everyone to redouble efforts to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has wreaked havoc on children’s education around the globe, disrupting almost 90 per cent of students worldwide. The consequences of extended missed or impaired education are steep, especially for the most marginalised. Vulnerable and disadvantaged children face additional risks to their wellbeing as they access essential supports, including meals and social supports, through school.

UNICEF acknowledges the Government’s significant efforts to prioritise children’s learning to this point and welcomes indications that schools and classes for pupils with additional will remain open.

UNICEF is calling for teachers to be prioritised to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, once frontline health personnel and high-risk populations are vaccinated. We must safeguard the future of the next generation. This begins by safeguarding those responsible for opening that future up for them.”

ENDS

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Notes for editors:

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Aedín Donnelly, Communications and Media Manager for UNICEF Ireland, aedin@unicef.ie, Tel: +353 1 809 0291, Mob: +353 85 1395272