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More classes can return to schools as planned, but NPHET watching figures 'very carefully'

More pupils are set to return to schools next week.

Image: Shutterstock/Halfpoint

THE GRADUAL REOPENING of schools can proceed as planned, the Department of Education has confirmed.

The department has today confirmed that the second stage of the phased return to schools will commence next Monday, 15 March.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education said the Department of Health and the HSE “have reaffirmed that the gradual phased reopening of schools can proceed as planned”.

Primary school children in third to sixth class, and fifth years in secondary schools, are due to return to school next Monday.

The department’s spokesperson said public health officials have “reviewed the measures put in place to ensure safe operation of schools” and are “satisfied that these infection prevention and control measures, if rigorously adhered to, will keep the school community safe during this period”.

Speaking at this evening’s NPHET briefing, Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, said there have been no reported Covid-19 outbreaks linked to the partial reopening of schools last week.

Professor Philip Nolan added that NPHET will watch these figures “very carefully”.

“There are no early signs of an increase in disease in younger people or an increase in transmission amongst adults, or more widely in the population, as a consequence of schools reopening in the last week,” Nolan said.

However, he noted that an increase in cases linked to schools may not be evident until later this week or early next week.

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Órla Ryan

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