It’s been a long time since the uniforms were worn.
But thousands of children will return to the classroom this morning for the first time since schools were closed in December as part of the Government’s phased reopening plans.
More than 260,000 primary school children and 60,000 Leaving Certificate students will file into classes today, while special schools will return to full capacity, after spending two weeks teaching just half their students on alternate days.
The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has called for “vigilance” when it comes to health and safety in the coming weeks, with General Secretary Michael Gillespie saying that school communities are anxious about the spread of new coronavirus strains.
Teachers who are over 60, high risk or pregnant will continue to work from home for now.
“At a national level, the situation must be kept under constant and forensic review, while adherence to the measures that protect the health and safety of students, staff and their families must be the key priority in every school,” Mr Gillespie said.
“It is essential that social distancing measures be adhered to, and the additional space in school premises as a result of the phased return allows the opportunity to further enhance this critical measure.”
Welcome back to the early years primary and Leaving Cert students heading to class this morning!
Thanks to the teachers and all the school staff for their hard work too.
— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) March 1, 2021
An Taoiseach Micheál Martin took to Twitter to welcome back the early years primary and Leaving Cert students heading to class this morning and thanked “teachers and all the school staff for their hard work”.
More primary school classes and fifth-year secondary classes are expected to return to classrooms on March 15th, with the remaining year groups joining them after the Easter break, by Monday, April 12th.
Meanwhile, the State’s Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) preschool scheme will resume on March 8th, with all other childcare set to reopen on March 29th, 2021.