NPHET reportedly to advise all children return to school at end of February 3 months ago

NPHET reportedly to advise all children return to school at end of February

NPHET will advise that kids go back to school on Monday, February 22, according to reports. 

However, the pressure is mounting to get kids back sooner, especially Leaving Certificate students, who are now only a few short months away from exam season.

There is also a strong belief in Government that resistance in teachers’ unions to accelerated returns must be adhered to.

"The review of schools begins this week and the period for closure of schools will expire on February 1," a member of NPHET told the Mail on Sunday speaking on condition of anonymity.

"But, with the figures being where they are, we can’t see the entire school population returning on that date," said the source, "so what we envisage happening is that there would be a two-week extension of this, but then the midterm would have come.

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"The scheduled week-long midterm break for secondary schools, and the discretionary break for primary schools beginning on Monday, February 15, would be taken and all kids could return then on February 22.

"The easiest way for all us now is shuffle this beyond the midterm. It’s the logical route if the numbers are still high. After midterm we can come back with something of a plan, to avoid the mess-up of last week.

"There’s a week off coming up – use that to get classrooms and everything prepared for a full return. Hopefully, the numbers will be way back down by then.

"The hospital admissions won’t affect the schools too much. It really depends on how the day-today figures go.

"We are going to assess all the Covid figures and data but as of now we would hope to advise the Government to allow students to go back to school after what has been on the calendar as the midterm break," the source added.

"However, we have spoken to the Department of Education and they are keen for the Leaving Certificate students to go back to classrooms in two weeks ago on February 1."

Speaking to the Mail on Sunday separately, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, said that the calendar for a return to school will be dictated by "public health advice."