FACE COVERINGS will not be a mandatory requirement for children in Ireland when schools return.
It's already been established that masks aren't practical for primary school students because physical distancing rules are not expected to be kept, but for secondary schoolchildren, there will be a one-metre social distancing requirement, as part of the reopening plan.
While there are measures in place to help students follow healthcare guidelines wherever possible, including keeping desks one-metre apart and implemented staggered drop-off and pick up times, face masks aren't going to be compulsory.
They're only optional and have been advised for situations where physical distancing may not be possible.
Similarly, teachers will not be required to wear face masks, as they conceal facial expression and can make communication difficult. However, they may be used in cases where physical distancing is not possible in classrooms or where a teacher is involved in prolonged close contact with pupils.
Minister for Education Norma Foley is due to seek approval at Cabinet for a financial package in excess of €350 million aimed at fully opening all schools on a full-time basis from late August.
The money will be spent on building works to allow for distancing, acquiring personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand hygiene supplies and equipment.
Schools in Ireland have been closed since March 12 to help curb the spread of Covid-19.