Schools are unlikely to open before St. Patrick's Day, says Taoiseach 3 months ago

Schools are unlikely to open before St. Patrick's Day, says Taoiseach

It seems we'll be homeschooling for a bit longer.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has indicated that schools will not fully re-open before St Patrick’s Day – and even hinted that the country might be facing a tightening of restrictions in the coming week.

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As concerns are growing over new variants of the Covid-19 virus, Martin told RTÉ Radio One over the weekedn that in order for schools to reopen, case numbers need to be in the low hundreds.

"The (case numbers) will have to be somewhere similar to where we were in October or November,” he said.

However, he added that in these months schools did “get through” with relatively high cases so he’s conscious of giving specific figures.

“The full million won’t be back (before St Patrick’s day). We can phase things and look at things differently,” the Taoiseach said.

"We need to think about this. We need to be innovative and obviously parallel with the way the virus is changing we need to adapt our approaches in terms of the mass movement of young people and students.

"I am passionate about education but with a million people involved we are going to have to look at it differently.”

However, when it comes to special education, Martin said this is a priority for the Government, and they will be looking at this first.

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Speaking to the Irish Independent, Martin said in the coming weeks that a decision will be made on how to reopen special education safely, adding that it can’t be “one against the other” as a division has been somewhat apparent between parents and school staff and the Government and teaching unions.

Mr Martin added: “I think there was a mismatch between people in a leadership position and people saying ‘just not yet’ around the concerns of public health.”