The new school year begins in three weeks’ time.
But as the September countdown begins, the Minister for Education Norma Foley has been asked to reconsider asking unvaccinated pregnant teachers to return to the classroom.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland this morning, Kieran Christie, the General Secretary of the ASTI said many teachers are losing sleep because they are “incredibly stressed out” and concerned over the risks to their unborn baby and the ongoing threat of the Delta variant.
The latest HSE guidance states that a pregnant teacher up to 14 weeks gestation, who is medically fit for work, “can safely attend the workplace at the start of the 2021/22 school year, unless they are categorised by the OHS as ‘Very High Risk’ due to an underlying medical condition unrelated to their pregnancy”.
Only teachers deemed ‘very high risk’ will be allowed to continue to work remotely, leaving many teachers considering taking unpaid sick leave in order to protect themselves.
“It’s just not acceptable that pregnant teachers will be coming into school in a couple of weeks’ time, each and every one of them terrified from the moment they step in the door to the moment they leave.” Mr Christie told the programme.
“It’s simply unsustainable that pregnant teachers in the coming weeks going into schools will be doing so in terror and in fear of their health and the lives of themselves and the worries that they have about the viability of the pregnancies,”
“Pregnant women want no risk or low risk in relation to their health and the health of their unborn children,” said Mr Christie.