Big Kids

The school reopening date might need to be pushed back

Parents all over the country are gearing up to send their children back to school this week after spending two weeks with them at home during the Christmas holidays. However, it now seems that the back to school date might need to be delayed due to so many teachers currently self-isolating.

As reported by, there is quite a lot of confusion surrounding the isolation period for teachers and principals alike — so much so that the amount of teachers who will be able to come into school this Wednesday is unpredictable.

“We don’t yet know how many teachers will be able to report for work because they don’t know how long to isolate from, how long to isolate to, and whether or not those dates will change,” Teachers’ Union of Ireland general secretary Michael Gillespie said.

Minister for Education Norma Foley will be attending a “crunch meeting” today to discuss the school reopening plan, after which the teachers of Ireland hope for clarity.

“There needs to be clarity also on if different rules apply if you are a positive case or a close contact,” Mr. Gillespie noted.

“Our members are asking us what ‘Day One’ (of isolating) is. Is it when they get a positive antigen test, or is it when they get a positive PCR test? They also don’t know if the isolation period is 10 days, seven days, or five days, and all these things need to be clarified.”

“You could also have a situation where you have a good number of teachers turn up on Thursday, but few students, or vice-versa. Then you have to ask if it would be better to close the school and turn to some sort of online classes. There are so many questions,” he added.

Towards the end of last week, Chief Medical Officer Tony Holihan confirmed that he and his team are doing everything they can to ensure the schools and public services remain open.

“At the moment schools are scheduled to re-open next week,” he told RTÉ's Morning Ireland, adding, “We keep that whole situation under review, but as things stand at the moment that's our current advice.”

“We're doing everything we can… to protect the most important public services that we have,” he continued.

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