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School re-opening: Secondary students will have to wait until April 12

DUBLIN: The government may tomorrow announce plans to reopen the school, which was closed in connection with COVID-19. Indications are that under this scheme, secondary students may have to wait until April 12 to reach class. The school staff unions and the government are in busy discussions on this. A decision in this regard will be taken at tomorrow’s cabinet meeting. Prior to that, the plan is to complete the formulation today.

It is learned that primary schools will be re-opened from 1 March for junior infants, senior infants, first and second classes. In the second phase, Leaving Cert students will be given priority. The rest of the primary school classes will begin weeks later. Decisions in this regard will be subject to public health guidance. This will be followed by the return of the third and fifth classes in a few weeks. Schools will be closed for Easter holidays on March 26. So it is expected that many of the students will not return to school until April 12th.

Michael Cregan, President of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD), said that COVID-19 testing of teachers and students should be considered on a regular basis to ensure that schools remain open.

Thousands of special needs students will return to mainstream primary and secondary schools on Monday. This is the first time these schools have opened for students before Christmas.

Special needs schools opened earlier this month with 50% attendance. Children with more complex needs come to school two or three days a week. Under the school reopening scheme, parents are required to sign a declaration form stating that the child does not have an infectious disease such as COVID-19.

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