Parents advised not to give children false hope on school return

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James Cox

Parents are being advised not to give their children false hope on the return of school.

Both primary and secondary schools are set for a partial reopening from March 1st after being shut since Christmas.

Leaving Cert students are likely to be the first to go back, while junior and senior infants and first class pupils are top of the list to return to primary schools.

It's expected a formal decision will be made by Cabinet on Tuesday.

Dr Deirdre McGillicuddy, a primary school teacher and assistant professor in Education at UCD, says going back will be a big transition for many children.

Kite flying

Dr McGillicuddy said: “Don't tell them that they're going back to school, perhaps until you get that email from the school, because the kite flying that has been happening over the past week has been very upsetting for everybody.”


She added: “Once you have that confirmed date, have a conversation with the children about going back to school, what are their concerns? What happens in school or what are they looking forward to?”

Dr McGillicuddy says the combination of children trying to learn remotely and parents working from home is “intense”.

“I think we are going to have to dig deep,” she said. “My message would be, for the next few weeks focus on your wellbeing and your children's wellbeing because that's now the priority. Especially for the return to school, because what you want to do is prepare them for that."

Speaking yesterday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said: “We are asking people to dig deep for a few more weeks.

“We will see three really good things in March, first is the return of kids to school and childcare all across Ireland, the second is the vaccine programme being ramped up.”

“We are also going to see hospitals relieved of pressure throughout the course of March,” he added.

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