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Commenting on the statement by the Minister of Education on the reopening of schools in Northern Ireland, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teacher’s Union, said:
 
“The NASUWT has previously welcomed the Northern Ireland Executive’s decision not to rush ahead with the reopening of schools.
 
“As plans are now starting to be put together in relation to how schools might begin to reopen in the new academic year, it will be critical that the Executive maintains a cautious approach which does not undermine public health or put at risk the health and safety of teachers or children.
 
“Once the details emerge of the arrangements, the NASUWT will evaluate them and advise members in the light of the key tests it has established around making schools COVID-19 secure and minimising risk.
 
“The NASUWT’s bottom line remains that no teacher or pupil should be expected to return to school until it can be demonstrated that it is safe to do so.”
 
Justin McCamphill, NASUWT National Official Northern Ireland, said:
 
“While it has been the practice of some schools to reopen for some days at the end of August to prepare for the beginning of the academic year, it would not be acceptable for individual schools to move their established starting date without agreement with school trade union representatives.

“The NASUWT reminds the Minister that a new agreement on teachers’ term and conditions is in place and whatever arrangements are developed must not conflict with teachers’ contractual rights.
 
“The NASUWT will continue to work with Department of Education, employers and sister trade unions in the development of these plans, with our primary concern being the safety and wellbeing of staff and pupils.”

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