A teachers' union is urging the Government to extend primary schools' Christmas holidays to the end of next week at the earliest.
Primary schools are due to reopen on January 6th, and the Government has so far resisted attempts to close down schools.
However, the INTO says schools should remain closed until at least January 11th due to the 'alarming' rise in coronavirus cases.
In a letter to the Education Minister Norma Foley, General Secretary John Boyle raised concerns about the emergence of a new variant of the virus.
He also said around 700 primary school aged children tested positive for the virus in the 14 days before schools shut for the holidays
Mr Boyle said an extension of the school closures until the end of next week would give school boards of management time to put enhanced measures in place prior to the beginning of term.
Cabinet is meeting today to consider new coronavirus measures, after a record 1,546 new cases were reported yesterday.
Ireland is currently in 'level five' - although a number of exceptions to the full set of rules remain in place, including non-essential retail and gyms being allowed remain open.