Tuesday, June 23, 2020

FÓRSA has advised SNA’s that it is not safe for them to engage in the recently announced summer provision programme for children with complex needs.

Earlier this month, Minister Joe McHugh announced the provision of an extended school programme this summer for those on the autistic spectrum or those with intellectual disabilities. The aim of the programme is to prevent regression in children.

This programme is due to take place in school settings, depending on the individual school, or at home in the child’s own surrounds.

If a child is participating in their home, the family of that child is asked to source a suitable tutor or SNA to carry out the extended school period. If a school is facilitating the programme, it will staffed by teaching staff and SNAs, with no onus on the parent to source a tutor.

Trade union, Fórsa has advised that there is not enough information available around managing risks. Without this information, schools and SNA’s cannot put a number on how many children can attend the summer programme, and how much PPE will be required. With this in mind, they have advised their members, who are SNA’s, not to participate until more information is provided.

A similar scheme is being run this summer by the HSE for summer camp support, however while applications have opened for parents, there is much uncertainty surrounding the terms and conditions of the programme.

The Department of Education have advised that guidelines should be compiled and issued shortly.

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