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back to the classroom All primary school students to return by March 15, says Minister for Children

Minister O’Gorman said the final decisions will be made at Cabinet next Tuesday.

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Minister for Children Roderic O'Gorman. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Minister for Children Roderic O'Gorman. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Minister for Children Roderic O'Gorman. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman has said he understands all primary school students will return to the classroom by March 15.

But he said that secondary school students who are not sitting the Leaving Cert are likely to be waiting until after Easter to return to school under the Government’s most recent plans to reopen the education sector.

Third to sixth class pupils in primary school may return on March 15 while Leaving Cert students and primary school pupils up to second class are slated to return to classrooms on March 1.

Minister O’Gorman, was speaking to Philip Boucher Hayes on Today with Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio, said primary schools are likely to return in two phases with junior infants, senior infants, first and second class students returning with those sitting the Leaving Cert on Monday week, March 1.

He said his understanding after “engagement with Minister Foley” was that the second cohort of primary school students, from third to sixth class, would return two weeks after the first phase on March 15.

Mr O’Gorman said the “focus” in the first four weeks of school in March were the Leaving Cert and Primary students, “to see over those four weeks how this impacts” the overall situation.

“As things currently stand, the majority of secondary schoolchildren will probably be returning to education following the Easter holidays,” the Minister said.

The Easter break from schools is due to end on April 12.

Minister O’Gorman said the final decisions will be made at cabinet next Tuesday.

“We are conscious we need to balance the gradual reopening and the gradual increase of movement with getting children back into the routine and having the supports in place,” Minister O’Gorman said.

“All of that is contingent on ongoing Nphet advice,” the Minister insisted.

Earlier this week, Education Minister Norma Foley announced plans for a dual process Leaving Cert where students could either sit a written exam or receive a calculated grade.

Unlike last year’s calculated grades, this year will be accredited by State Examinations Commission and students will not be able to challenge them.

The Junior Cert exam was also cancelled under these plans.


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