Schools and childcare can reopen on ‘cautious basis’ as long as numbers improve

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NPHET says schools and childcare can reopen on a “cautious and phased basis” as long as coronavirus cases in Ireland continue to decrease.

Schools are set to return on a phased basis starting next month even though Level 5 restrictions are expected to be extended beyond March 5th.

The 14-day incidence rate of the killer virus is currently 243, which is the lowest it’s been since December.

Unions are expected to finalise a return to school plan with the Department of Education officials today.

Younger primary school pupils are expected to return to class from early March.

The return of other classes is still under consideration.

At second level, Leaving Cert students are to be prioritised to return on the same date – although, many students might have to wait until April 12th before they return to the classroom.

The reopening of childcare is to be considered at a meeting of the Childcare Covid-19 Advisory Group to be attended by Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman.

Its discussions will feed into the later Cabinet sub-committee meeting which will involve Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan and other senior Ministers.

NPHET has advised the current Level 5 restrictions should be extended beyond March 5th.

They said that the reopening of the economy and society should be undertaken cautiously and on a step-by-step basis, taking into account the impact on case numbers of the initial moves in relation to education.

Senior Ministers are due to meet today to finalise a revised Living with Covid-19 Plan ahead of a full Cabinet meeting tomorrow.

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Source: Dublin News