“Most students exempt from the mask rule will not need a medical certificate,” says INTO

Most primary school students who are exempt from wearing a face mask at school will not need a medical certificate, according to the Irish National Teachers’ Organization (INTO).

he question of exemptions from the new face covering rule applicable to pupils from the third grade on was one of the key subjects discussed with the Ministry of Education by the representative bodies of the schools.

In a subsequent notice to members, INTO noted the medical exemptions that will apply, but added that “the vast majority of exempt children will not need a medical certificate to receive an exemption from wearing a blanket. face”.

Principals were concerned about the potential for confusion and confrontation when an exemption is sought without certification, while a number of general practitioners also spoke about their ability to provide certification to children in light of their experience. current workload.

After the new policy was introduced overnight, school representative bodies were inundated with appeals and sought and received clarification from the ministry on a number of issues.

However, principals are still waiting for advice on what to do if they encounter a widespread refusal from a parent to allow their child to wear a mask at school.

The Taoiseach Micheál Martin said in the Dáil that teachers, directors and boards of directors that administered public health policy would be protected by law.

While the mask-wearing policy takes immediate effect, INTO said it was recognized that schools “will take a hands-on approach in the following days to communicate the new measures to parents.”

On whether it is mandatory for a child to wear a face covering, INTO said that while the guidelines are not statutory, it was “unequivocally clear that this is a requirement for all. students “.

INTO has informed members of the medical exemptions that will apply, but added that “the vast majority of exempt children will not need a medical certificate to receive an exemption from wearing a face covering.”

He cited official guidelines that schools “know the needs of their students and are in a good position to identify children whose complex needs mean that wearing a face covering may not be possible and to discuss this with parents if. necessary “.

“In such circumstances, a school will not require a medical certificate to grant an exemption from wearing face coverings,” he said.

When a student refuses to wear a mask, schools are asked to engage with the student and explain the requirements for the use of face covers and also to engage with parents / guardians of the child.

Further guidance is sought as to the appropriate process / procedure in the event of a continued refusal to cooperate, according to INTO.

Regarding the wearing of masks during breaks, the union said “a common sense approach should apply” and that removing face coverings for brief periods was allowed.

Masks can also be removed for play time in the yard and for physical education and other sporting activities, with the advice that these activities should take place, whenever possible, outdoors.

Removal of face covers is also allowed for musical activities, such as singing, choir, and playing instruments, but a hands-on approach is advised, such as consideration of space and ventilation.

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