All schools in Ireland will be 'back by end of March'

All schools in Ireland will be 'back by end of March'

EVERY STUDENT in Ireland will be back in school before the start of April, according to the latest reports.

After a deal was struck to allow special-needs pupils to return to school from Thursday next week, ministers met yesterday with education representatives to discuss plans for the remaining students.

Weeks of standoff appear to have finally culminated in an agreement that will see all students back in their classrooms by the end of next month in a phased return, though no official confirmation has been given yet.

According to the Irish Daily Mail, ministers were upbeat following last night's meeting, with one saying: "We were happy to get agreement on special-needs schools and classes today, and though there was no agreement, after discussing everything, you would expect to have the general primary schools and secondary schools back in a phased return, which will see everybody back in school by the end of March.

"That's contingent on the Covid numbers, of course.

"If things keep going the way they're going, we'll have the Covid numbers where they were when the schools were open, plus all the supports and investment Norma [Foley - Minister for Education] has there to help things.

"So it will be very hard for teachers' unions to oppose going back, when the numbers are lower than they were before, and with additional supports."

It's understood that children will return to school on a phased basis, with special schools due to reopen on February 11, and classes in mainstream schools for pupils with special-needs to resume on February 22.

All other pupils will begin returning from March, with older students returning to classes first.