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Teachers' union calls for schools to be kept under 'forensic review' as all students return

A million students and staff are back in school today.

IRELAND’S LARGEST TEACHING union has called for “vigilance” as schools prepare to fully re-open today.

More than a million students and staff will return to classrooms as Ireland prepares to ease its Covid-19 restrictions for the first time this year.

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has said there is “anxiety” among school communities over the return, and has called for an ongoing review of the situation.

“We have always said that the preference of our members is a return to face-to-face teaching and learning as long as all risk mitigation measures are in place and strictly adhered to,” the union’s General secretary Micheal Gillespie said. 

“With the full return to school buildings of all year groups today, there is understandable anxiety among all in school communities, particularly given concerns around new strains of the virus.

“At a national level, the situation must be kept under 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.

“We have already made clear that we will not tolerate breaches of key safety measures in workplaces.”

Gillespie added that keeping schools open in a safe and sustainable manner was a challenge for all of society and called for responsibility to be shown.

Today will also see the 5km travel limit relaxed to allow people to travel anywhere within their county, or up to 20km if crossing into another county.

People from two households will also be allowed to meet up outdoors for social and recreational purposes, but private household visits – including to gardens – remain off limits.

All schoolchildren are to return to in-class learning from Monday, while construction on housing and essential projects will also resume.

Further easing of restrictions is expected on 19 April and 26 April.

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