Europe

Ireland: Schools set to fully reopen before end of August

first day back at school Image copyright PA Media
Image caption €375m has been set aside by the Irish government to get schools opened by the end of August

Schools in the Republic of Ireland are expected to fully reopen before the end of August.

The Irish government confirmed the plan following a cabinet meeting at Dublin Castle.

Approximately 4,000 schools were closed on 13 March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The plan, worth €375m (£342m), was announced on Monday evening and will fund an additional 1,000 post-primary teachers.

The money will also fund the building of new school premises to allow for social distancing and 120 extra counselling posts to help students adjust to a different educational environment.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Schools in the Republic of Ireland have been closed since 13 March

A €75m (£68.5m) building package will be used to alter buildings and classrooms.

Minister for Education Norma Foley said children in the first four years of primary school would not need to social distance, but beyond that age there would be a one-metre distance between pupils.

She said there would also be "enhanced cleaning and hand hygiene" support for schools and opportunities for them to receive Personal Protective Equipment.

In the event of a suspected case of Covid-19 in a school there will be isolation areas where a person can be taken for testing to take place, and if there is a positive case then the whole class might be asked to self-isolate.

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