As part of the Northern Ireland Executive’s measures to reduce the current rising incidence or transmission of coronavirus the Minister of Education announced on a phased return of pupils to school. Special schools will open as normal and vulnerable children and pupils of key workers will have access to schools for supervised learning.
Notice No. 30 makes modifications to Article 58(1)(a) of the Education and Libraries (NI) Order 1986. The modifications are necessary to enable the EA to provide food parcels for delivery to children at special schools who are entitled to free school meals (FSM) but are unable to attend school due to Covid-19 restrictions and wish such provision. This includes where parents, in agreement with the Principal, choose to keep their child at home because of their perceived heightened risk to their child of Covid-19.
It relates to pupils who are:
- diagnosed with a medical condition or illness (or in extreme circumstances their parent has a significant underlying medical condition) and who, despite their absence from school, are registered by the school as being in attendance on the basis of medical advice that owing to their medical condition or illness (or in extreme circumstances their parent’s significant underlying medical condition), it is medically unsafe to be in attendance at school;
- self-isolating as a consequence of their own positive test for coronavirus disease;
- self-isolating as a consequence of a positive test for coronavirus disease of a member of their household;
- required by the school, on the advice of the Public Health Agency, not to attend school;
(e) considered by their parent(s)/guardian, on the basis of an underlying medical or other condition or illness, to be at a perceived heightened risk of contracting coronavirus disease and/or if so contracted, at a greater risk of suffering complications from same, regardless of formal diagnosis or medical advice, resulting in their absence from school (with the express agreement of the School Principal) even though they are registered by the school as being in attendance.
Under paragraph 17 of Schedule 17 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 the Department is required to publish the notice and to take steps as the Department considers reasonable to bring the notice to the attention of those likely to be affected by it.