Parents are feeling frustrated about the lack of guidance on children returning to school. Questions remain about how many days per week schools will open, the number of children per classroom, will face masks be required, and now the wearing of school uniforms has been raised. We all understand the huge logistical planning that’s needed prior to schools returning, but parents and children deserve straight answers now so they can plan appropriately.
Recently, the President of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals, Alan Mongey, has suggested the necessity of wearing school uniforms should be considered as part of the guidance on children’s return to school. Fears about the spread of Covid-19 on school uniforms has been raised as part of the overall school hygiene practices needed for a safe return. The key message is for children to wear clean washed clothes everyday so as to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
However, asking parents to wash uniforms on a daily basis during the pandemic may cause unwanted stress and added expense when schools reopen. Principals have suggested adopting less restrictive uniform policies could help maintain good hygiene and also place less of a burden on families.
So what would this look like in real time? Children may be required to wear school uniforms 3 days per week. On non-uniform days, children would be asked to wear everyday clothes to school. Such a policy would allow parents enough time to wash and prepare uniforms for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and provide everyday (washed) clothes on Tuesday and Thursday. Or we may see uniforms 2 days a week and everyday clothes 3 days a week. We simply don’t know at this stage and await further guidance. Seán Ó Foghlú, secretary-general of the Department of Education, confirmed that guidelines on schools reopening will be issued at the end of July.
President of the ASTI, Deirdre McDonald, has stated that ultimately the schools board of management, in consultation with parents, will determine if school uniform policy is relaxed during the pandemic.
So it looks like school uniforms are here to stay. Let’s wait and see if school uniform policy is relaxed or strictly adhered to when children return.
For expert advice on the safe return of children to schools check out the link below.
Prevention of Covid-19 in Schools – Key Messages