Dear Norma II – This Time It’s Personnel

Dear Norma,

I know that you’re busy, what with being a minister and all, so I’ll forgive you for not writing back.

But I needed to write back to you, Norma, because truthfully, I’m worried, concerned, angry.

You see, Norma, you are wedded to the idea that schools are safe. And that is diametrically opposed to what the vast majority of teachers believe.

In support of your argument you, and your agents, have referred to ideas such as;

  • Children don’t spread virus
  • Schools are safe™
  • Teachers are mostly young and therefore not as vulnerable to the virus

This last point in support of keeping teachers further down the priority list for vaccination.

Children Don’t Spread Virus

Anybody who has ever spent time in school would laugh at the idea of children not spreading a virus. I would love to tell children this. The idea that just wistfully getting a virus to stop spreading amongst children is wonderful. Think of the treatment regimes for Norovirus, the Common Cold, HEAD LICE!

In case you’re not aware, Covid 19 is spread by airborne transmission. But, Don’t take my word from it. The W.H.O outlines the transmission mechanisms here

Children do get ill with Corona. And thankfully many of them do not present with serious complications, but enough do for them to be tested, and this data from clearly indicates that Covid is rampant across younger age groups – 63% are under 45. No magic wishful thinking will prevent children from getting it.

Source –

Schools Are Safe! ™

One of the greatest pieces of propaganda from your department has been the line that “Schools Are Safe™”

And yes, this may have been the case in September to December when the maximum number of cases was 1,284 on 18th October.

However, we are in a radically different position now. Community transmission is rife, and our 7 day average is 3,601. Did I mention that we have stopped testing close contacts because our system is already overwhelmed?

Did I mention that we have no real capacity left in our hospitals, that there are currently over 2,000 people in hospital with Covid, and 200 in ICU?

Did I mention that 6,400 health care workers are currently out due to Covid?

Did I mention that YOU, Minister, have cut the PPE budget for schools, and that those 6,400 health care workers were wearing correct PPE, and were presumably trained in its correct usage?

So no. Forgive me if I disagree with your assertion that schools are safe. In fact it is you who should ask for forgiveness for such a brazen lie.

Teachers Are Mostly Young and Not as much At Risk

Finally, Norma. Teachers are mostly young?

When did you last step into a staff room?

As with any profession, teaching has a range of age groups. To blithely state that they are mostly young is a nonsense.

To then go on to assert that those teachers are not as much at risk? That is sheer recklessness. Going on this chart, Ireland has had 174,843 Covid cases diagnosed so far. Of those, tragically, 2,616 have died. That’s a mortality rate of 1.5%

So, for every 1,000 cases we can expect 15 people to die. Think again of our 7 day average of 3,601. That’s about 54 deaths a day.

So, Norma. You are happy to put teachers into over-crowded, poorly-ventilated classrooms for 6 hours a day, with a 40% cut in PPE, and then claim that ‘Schools Are Safe’?

No. That is not acceptable. As the Minister you have a responsibility around the Health & Welfare of teachers and students. You are failing in that responsibility. You are happy to put us in harm’s way, with a cut in PPE grants.

At what point do you accept that this course of action is wrong? What will it take for you to recognise that this isn’t safe?

It’s time for a serious re-think on this policy.

2 thoughts on “Dear Norma II – This Time It’s Personnel

  1. Well said, John and all true statements. It is incredible the lengths of dishonesty this government is willing to go to in order to undermine their own systems. It’s almost as though they want the public to turn against education staff so that they will up their political standing as the good guys? Disgusting tactics.
    I wrote a similar piece on the issues. It hits back at the Department of Education’s statement and expresses what can be done to remedy the terrible situation we find ourselves in:

    • Very comprehensive reply from you to that statement.
      The whole situation is unbelievable, the degree to which the gov is willing to go to push its own agenda is frankly shocking.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s