Teachers have significant concerns around their own health and that of others in their household, according to a survey of more than 1,500 members conducted by the Teachers Union of Ireland.

One in five respondents said that they have an underlying health issue that is of concern to them in terms of Covid-19, while one in ten said they were sharing a household with somebody who is over 70.

Publishing the survey findings the union has again criticised the criteria used in risk assessments by the occupational health service to determine which school staff should be excused from the classroom on health grounds. 

While workers with an underlying illness categorised as "very high risk" are allowed to work remotely, those who are "high risk" are still in the workplace.

The union says it is seeking a review for those teachers in the context of the wider societal move to Level 5.    

The findings of the survey highlight a range of concerns around resources in schools and increased workload too. 

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Almost 75% of those who completed the survey say they do not believe that the enhanced teaching/staffing allocation provided as a result of Covid-19 has been sufficient to meet requirements. 

They identify more space, smaller class groups and more teachers as what they would most like to see to counter the workplace risk of Covid-19. 

The TUI, along with other teacher unions, has called for ongoing engagement around the move to Level 5 restrictions and continual assessment of the potential health risk to school staff and students. 

It is also calling for a national audit of safeguards in schools, a review of some health risk assessments and the provision of resources to tackle the digital divide that it says discriminates against students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Of particular concern, it says, is the uncertainty around the definition of close contacts in schools. 

It says a lack of consistency and clarity in this regard is causing severe stress and anxiety.