The Government has confirmed that all schools will reopen at the end of August as it announced a financial package worth €375 million.
Included in the plan is more than 1,000 extra staff for post-primary schools to help reduce class sizes, the supply of personal protective equipment and strict cleaning regimes.
Special needs assistant posts will be replaced by the State if a member of staff becomes ill.
School principals will have one release day per week to deal with Covid-19 plans.
Other measures announced include:
- School children will have assigned seating on school buses and will be asked to sit in the same seat every day;
- Facemasks are not compulsory for students or staff, but if they wish to wear them, it is encouraged;
- 120 guidance counsellors and psychologists will be provided to help children adapt to the new normal;
- There will be additional funding of €84.7 million to address staff shortages;
- Primary school children in junior infants, senior infants, first class and second class will not be required to social distance.
Education Minister Norma Foley says six "very successful pilots" have already taken place at primary school level to allow a "substitution panel" providing one year contracts to teachers to be rolled out nationally.
Minister Foley confirmed that isolation areas will be provided in case a Covid-19 case is suspected in a school. She also said students in a class with a suspected case may be asked to self-isolate.
More to follow...