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Education Minister Norma Foley expects schools to remain open even if lockdown restrictions are put in place

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'The Labour Party has asked Education Minister Norma Foley to address parents’ growing concerns in the Oireachtas'

'The Labour Party has asked Education Minister Norma Foley to address parents’ growing concerns in the Oireachtas'

'The Labour Party has asked Education Minister Norma Foley to address parents’ growing concerns in the Oireachtas'

Education Minister Norma Foley said she expects schools will operate as normal in every county even if lockdown restrictions are imposed there.

The National Public Health and Emergency Team (Nphet) is meeting today to discuss recommendations they will make to Cabinet on the safe reopening of schools in the area.

The Minister said she is confident school children will return to classrooms next week.

Ms Foley said she expects that schools in Kildare - where restrictions have been extended by two weeks - and in other counties will remain open even if lockdown restrictions are put in place.

"It is my hope that schools will operate as normal in these instances, that people will continue to go to work, and students, it is my hope and expectation that would be the advice this afternoon, will also attend schools," she said.

"All the plans are in place in the three counties and in all counties, and all the necessary arrangements have been made so it is my hope that it would happen."

Schools are start the term off with buses for second-level pupils operating at 50pc passenger capacity to allow for social distancing.

Ms Foley said it is "quite a logistical challenge" to provide 1,600 additional buses needed by next week to transport pupils to school but that the Government is working with Bus Eireann to roll out the extra buses "as quickly as possible."

The Minister said parents will be compensated for transport arrangements they put in place until bus services are available.

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"The government decision is that school transport would proceed as planned, but that we would roll out as quickly and as speedily as we can the additional buses.

"I should also add that we are offering the facility to parents if they have a child who is eligible to travel on the bus, should they wish to organise their own transport in the meantime, they will be recompensed for doing that," she said.


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