The Government is considering shutting all schools for the rest of January.
A final decision on the matter will be taken following a Cabinet meeting tomorrow (Wed).
The matter will be discussed in more detail at a Cabinet sub-committee on Covid-19 later today.
It comes as the National Public Health Emergency Team said the level of coronavirus infection in the population is significantly higher than the first wave of the pandemic in March.
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said she told Taoiseach Micheál Martin that trying to reopen schools next Monday was “not realistic”.
She tweeted last night that she spoke with the Taoiseach about the matter yesterday, saying there was “growing concern” about a safe return to schools and childcare.
In England, a decision has been taken to close schools until the mid-term break in mid-February.
TUI General Secretary Michael Gillespie said: “Logically the date for re-opening should be 18th January at a minimum as this will allow for the 14-day period that is required to determine whether or not implimentation of the Level 5 measures has been effective in suppressing spread of the virus in the community.
“To re-open too early is recklessly to tempt fate.
“It would be wiser and more prudent to have a short delay, inconvenient as that may be, than to run the risk of having schools become centres for concentrated spread of the virus.”.
Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman said the Government wanted to avoid a “long-scale shutdown” of schools and childcare providers, but he added that the situation is under constant review.