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Schools to only partially return in September if 2m-rule in force, Education Minister says

Education Minister Joe McHugh said he was against this partial return, and would “move mountains” for students.

Joe McHugh on RTÉ Prime Time last night.
Joe McHugh on RTÉ Prime Time last night.
Image: Twitter/RTÉ Prime Time

MINISTER FOR EDUCATION Joe McHugh has said that a “half return” to school in September would be needed if a 2m social distancing rule was in force.

He said that he would be against this partial return, and he didn’t want to see children have to wear facemasks at school.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Prime Time last night, the Donegal TD said that Dr Tony Holohan was clear that they could only give advice, and not assess risk.

“He quite clearly stated they don’t do risk assessment, that’s a job that we will be doing within our Department,” he said.

When asked whether he would overrule the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet), McHugh said he doesn’t work “unilaterally” like that – instead his officials discuss with students and teachers. 

“I have to balance as Minister the key motivation behind education and that’s that no child is left behind in education,” he said, and promised to “move mountains” to ensure that happens.

He continued:

We had a difficulty with the Junior Cycle, we got consensus. We had a difficulty with the written Leaving Cert exam, we got consensus. We had a difficulty approaching the Calculated Grades, we got consensus.

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A deadline for Leaving Cert students to register for the Calculated Grade system was due to end last night at 10pm, but was extended until 12pm today.

As of 10pm last night, 59,859 students had registered, representing 98% of Leaving Cert students. There are just 1,170 students who have yet to register – they can do so here.

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