Talks continue with aim of schools to reopen on a phased basis by February

Talks Continue With Aim Of Schools To Reopen On A Phased Basis By February Talks Continue With Aim Of Schools To Reopen On A Phased Basis By February
A-levels and GCSEs have been cancelled in England this summer (Ben Birchall/PA), © PA Archive/PA Images
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Digital Desk Staff

Talks between the Department of Education and unions are continuing this week with hopes that schools will be able to reopen on a phased basis between February and March.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said on Monday night that while the Government was unable to say when schools would open exactly, it intended to open education on a phased basis beginning with children with additional needs from next month.

As the Irish Times reports, special education is likely to be followed by primary schools, exam year groups and others.

“It is the next step we have to do. We have to continue to consult with the education partners,’ Mr Varadkar told RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live.

“I cannot give a definite date to parents, but the one thing that we do intend is to open education on a phased basis across February and March, starting with those kids with additional needs,” .

Phased basis


“However, I can say to parents that the decision is to leave the restrictions fully in place until March 5th so we can get cases down to a much lower level and give hospitals a chance to recover.”

He said the Government wanted to start with special schools and children who have additional needs.

“Then, perhaps, primary schools and exam years ... It is something that has to be done by agreement, but it is something that we are very keen to start with children with additional needs.”

Mr Varadkar said case numbers were halving every 10 days, so it is “reasonable that in 20 days time it could be down to 400, but because of the new variant being more transmissible we want to open schools on a phased basis.”

“We have to consult with unions and parents groups and students, but we are reasonably confident that by mid-February we will be down to case numbers that were at the same level as when schools fully reopened last September.”

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