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Schools in Ireland may remain shut until end of January

DUBLIN: Schools in Ireland may not reopen soon as COVID-19 spread continues to skyrocket. Under the current circumstances, the school may remain closed until the end of the month. Final discussions on this are in progress.

The cabinet has decided to consider closing schools for another two to three weeks as the country’s primary and secondary schools are set to reopen on January 11.

The COVID-19 Cabinet Committee, which meets to discuss the growing public health crisis, will reportedly discuss the school reopening in detail. There are indications that ministers and party leaders will call for the closure of schools to prevent the virus from spreading to children, teachers and their homes in the wake of the outbreak.

The cabinet meeting on Wednesday will also discuss NPHET’s recommendations and make the final decision on the reopening of schools in Ireland. Meanwhile, government sources said that the closure of schools was not because they were unsafe, but to stop the movement of around a million people.

At the same time, there are plans to open some schools exclusively for the children of frontline workers, children with disabilities and children from disadvantaged areas.

Education Minister Norma Foley will brief the cabinet sub-committee on Wednesday on the current situation regarding the opening of the school. To this end, the Minister has sought the views and opinions of students, parents and school managements.

The minister said she was aware of the challenges posed by the reopening of schools in the wake of the COVID-19 spread.

At the same time, the INTO, the primary teachers’ union, said that if schools were to reopen, they should be able to close at any time and then facilitate remote learning. In this regard, INTO has also submitted a backup plan to Minister Norma Foley.

The union says some principals have expressed concern about whether schools could be reopened safely by hiring replacements due to staff shortages due to the COVID-19 crisis.

At the same time, the union said that if the decision was made to reopen schools under the current circumstances, the principals should be given more autonomy and students should be included in the priority list for vaccination.

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