An Roinn Oideachais 

Department of Education

 

 

 

 

 

24 February 2021 

Dear Parent/Guardian 

Yesterday the Government published the plan for the next phases of return to in-school  provision for students at both primary and post-primary level. These further phases  have been developed following continuous engagement with unions and other  education partners and ongoing engagement with the Department of Health and HSE  Public Health. 

The Department of Health and the HSE have reaffirmed that schools in themselves are  low risk environments and that a gradual phased reopening can occur at this time.  Public health has reviewed the measures put in place to ensure safe operation of  schools and is satisfied that these infection prevention and control measures, when  rigorously adhered to, will keep the school community safe during this period. 

There will be a period of time between each phase to assess the impact of reopening  on aspects of community transmission. 

∙ On Monday 1 March the first four classes at primary level – junior and senior  infants, first and second class – and final year Leaving Certificate students will  return to in-school provision. This phase will also see a return to full attendance  for children in special schools.  

∙ Monday 15 March is the target date for the return to in-school provision of the  rest of primary school children - third to sixth class students - and fifth year  Leaving Certificate students. This date will be reviewed during the period  following 1 March. 

∙ Monday 12 April, following the Easter break is the target date for the return to  in-school education for the rest of post-primary students - first to fourth year  students  

∙ Remote teaching and learning provision for students in each category will cease  once in-person teaching and learning provision commences for each group of  students.  

Safety is paramount in our schools, and all provision within schools will continue  according to public health advice developed for educational settings. The Department  will continue to fund and support as necessary infection prevention and control  measures in schools to ensure the safety of the school community.   

Public Health in the HSE is fully committed to supporting schools. Schools teams that  have been put in place to support schools since October will support schools during the  phased return and beyond.

Office of the Minister of Education Sráid Maoilbhríde, Baile Átha Cliath 1, D01 RC96 An tAire Oideachais Marlborough St, Dublin 1, D01 RC96 Minister for Education T +353 1 889 2335 | Minister@Education.gov.ie www.department.gov.ie 

We all know of the hugely adverse consequences at individual, family and societal  level of not having in-person learning available to students. The safe return and  sustained safe re-opening of our schools is a key priority for Government. 

I acknowledge that a phased re-opening is challenging for many people, with children  of different age groups in the same families returning at different times. The purpose of  managing this cautious phased return is to continue to limit the mobility of the  population and curb the spread of the virus. 

I ask all parents to please review the symptoms of Covid-19, to ensure that children  with symptoms do not attend school and that all children know and understand the  procedures in place in school. 

Please continue to abide by all social distancing guidance and stay home apart from  essential journeys. Parents can help schools by being individually responsible and not  lingering outside school at drop off and collection times. It is welcome that children will  see their friends in school, but please do not organise playdates or home visits. 

We all understand how essential school reopening is and we need to give it the best  possible chance to get all students back as quickly as possible. 

I would like to thank you, your families and school communities for continued  adherence to the guidelines and for helping us all to curb the spread of the virus. I wish  all students and staff a safe return to in-person learning over the coming weeks. 

You may find the below useful: 

Links to posters and videos here: 

https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/5572b-back-to school-advice-for-parents-students-and-families/

 

Yours Sincerely, 

 

________________ 

 

Norma Foley, TD 

Minister for Education