Minister for Education Joe McHugh has said it is difficult to see all students being back in school in September with the two-metre social distancing rule in place.
The Donegal politician said that even with a one-metre rule it was still unlikely that all students could return.
Mr McHugh revealed the Department of Education will publish a roadmap in two weeks for the return of schools.
He also pointed out that the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan had indicated he would have public health advice within two weeks on the reopening of schools and what would work and not work.
“We have to balance all the risks. We cannot put the education of children on hold.”
The Minister said it was his mission to ensure as many students as possible return to school in September.
Public health officials are examining international comparisons to see how the situation is being handled in other countries, he said.
“We are waiting to see what sort of blended education system we are going to have.”
A special group has been set up within the Department of Education to examine the issue of school transport, he added. “That’s a challenge.”
It comes amid calls for schools to reopen sooner than planned in September.
Professor of Biochemistry at Trinity College, Luke O Neill said there are a number of benefits in bringing children back to classes sooner rather than later.
He said: “I can’t see why a child can’t go in for two days a week, it’s beyond me and you would have less than half the kids in the school.
“That would be a big decrease in risk even if there was one. I think for the mental health of the children it is extremely important.
“Lots of studies have shown this in the past that children kept outside of school will suffer academically later.
“And then the biggest reason of all, the vulnerable children who can’t get homeschooling.”Tags: