- Lifestyle & Sports
- 07 Jan 21
"If the kids are united, they will never be divided #WeWontGo."
A group named the National 6th Year Boycott has called on Leaving Certificate students to boycott the Government's decision to reopen schools for students in light of skyrocketing coronavirus cases.
Micheál Martin and Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD, announced that schools would reopen three days a week specifically for those senior students who are sitting their Leaving Cert state exams this year, with the choice sparking frustration and outrage among certain parents, teachers and students.
A number of secondary schools are meeting to consider taking similar action in light of the public health threat posed by Covid-19.
Opposition parties have questioned whether NPHET advised against the reopening of schools specifically for senior students, and whether it is safe given that the country is currently seeing 6,000 cases a day and a confusingly slow vaccine rollout.
In a statement shared on Twitter this morning, the group wrote:
"This decision has not been welcomed by the students of Ireland, and with COVID-19 cases and hospital admissions at record highs, students are unhappy at the thought of going back to school environment, and potentially contracting and spreading COVID-19 in our community.
"The Taoiseach said yesterday that, 'The personal decisions each and every one of us make in the next month will affect how many will die' and this is why the national 6th Year Boycott are asking all 6th year students to make the personal decision not to attend school from Monday, 11th of January," the statement continues.
"The National 6th Year Boycott committee will be seeking a meeting with Minster for Education Norma Foley TD, Seán Ó Foghlú, the secretary General of the Department of Education, and An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, in order to discuss our four key demands."
The demands include; an option of predicted grades as well as an option to sit the state exam to give students a choice, extending the deadline of all practicals and projects, a guarantee that the Government will close a school immediately if there is a positive COVID case found in a classroom and that the COVID-19 track and trace scheme will be thoroughly implemented in classes where a positive case has been found.
The group also demand that the Government stop referring to it as a "traditional Leaving Cert" exam:
"It is an insult to the students and we demand that the appropriate changes to the exam are made."
"Upon our demands being met, the boycott will officially end, and students should go back to school," they said.
"We are not advocating for days off school. We are not looking for excuses to stay off school. Students in Ireland are genuinely worried about their health, and the health of their families, and are rightly concerned about their futures, dependent so heavily on their Leaving Certificate results," the statement adds.
Concluding by asking students to boycott respectfully and to comply with the work assigned by teachers, the group make sure to mention that the protest is not against their teachers, "who we value and respect so much for the opportunities they have given us in the past."
Read the full statement from the national 6th Year Boycott below: