The Chairperson of the Federation of Early Childhood Providers Elaine Dunne said childcare staff are “terrified” that there will be a Covid-19 outbreak due to the end of contact tracing.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan announced that from Monday, September 27 contact tracing of close contacts in childcare facilities and primary education and testing of asymptomatic close contacts in childcare facilities and primary education will no longer be necessary.
“In the sector we’ve been chronically underfunded for many years and this has led to a staffing crisis,” said Elaine.
“Problems facing the sector include low pay and the terms and conditions. A lot of staff members are leaving and going to schools to work as Special Needs Assistants as both the wages and terms and conditions are better.”
She added: “Staffing levels are going down dramatically and providers are walking away from services. The level of funding in the sector is far too low.
“We were well looked after during Covid-19, but all the years of not being well looked after have contributed to this current situation.
“In the last two years 271 services have closed their doors. Providers are getting worn out and staff are getting worn out.
“We have to keep in mind the rigid guidelines and now we are being asked to get rid of contact tracing and now staff are terrified there could be a Covid-19 outbreak.”