Government Announces Plan To F...


Government Announces Plan To Fully Reopen Schools In Late August

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Entire schools may not need to close if there's an outbreak of COVID in the classroom under the government's new back to school plan.

Outbreaks will be handled individually by a COVID officer within the school following public health guidelines.

Children from junior infants to second class won't have to observe social distancing, and all others will have to be spaced a metre from their classmates.

€375 million in funding has been made available to allow schools fully reopen in a month's time, including funding more than 1,000 new teaching posts at post-primary level to help reduce class sizes.

There will be money for schools to undergo minor works to adapt classrooms to reduce class size and allow social distancing.

Primary pupils and teachers will work in 'class bubbles' which stay apart from other classes as much as possible - including having separate breaks and meal times.

Meanwhile, classes themselves can be separated into 'pods' of smaller groups of students, with at least a metre between the different pods.

The Department of Education says a 'one size fits all' approach would not work for secondary schools.

They have therefore have put forward a number of recommendations for individual schools - including using all available space in the school to maximise social distancing, and to consider the use of live streaming within the school where needed.

Taoiseach Michael Martin says reopening schools fully is a major logistical challenge.

He said: "Today we are setting out a programme to adapt and reopen 4,000 schools serving 1 million students.

"It is a major logistical and educational challenge, which we are determined to succeed in."

He said it will represent a 'significant milestone' when schools reopen, although stressed normality will only return when the coronavirus is permanently under control.

Main image: Taoiseach, Micheál Martin TD,Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD, and Minister of State Josepha Madigan TD. Picture: JULIEN BEHAL PHOTOGRAPHY

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