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Covid concerns Government decision on schools reopening to be made on Wednesday

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said that as of now Nphet has not made any recommendations that schools should remain closed and the current plan is they will reopen on January 11.

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Health Minster Stephen Donnelly said there were ongoing conversations across government (Julien Behal/PA)

Health Minster Stephen Donnelly said there were ongoing conversations across government (Julien Behal/PA)

Health Minster Stephen Donnelly said there were ongoing conversations across government (Julien Behal/PA)

The Government will make a decision on whether schools will reopen on Wednesday, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has said.

He said that as of now Nphet has not made any recommendations that schools should remain closed and the current plan is they will reopen on January 11.

Minister Donnelly said he understand that parents, staff and students want clarity but that these are “big calls” to be made that impact people’s lives.

"We know from the first lockdown it had a big impact on children, particularly children from lower income areas,” he said on RTÉ Radio 1’s News at One.

“We have to allow the experts time they need to examine the latest developments.

“There are ongoing conversations obviously across government and as you were just reporting there the stakeholders are meeting today with the Minister (Norma Foley) and the public health teams.

“However, I think it is reasonable to assume the government on Wednesday morning will make a decision on this.”

He added: “We want to strike a balance between giving the schools, parents and students as much time as possible and making sure we’re making the decision with the most up to date advice.”

Earlier today, Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman said that the Government is hoping to avoid a "large-scale" shutdown of schools.

However, he said that closures will be kept under review.

He told RTE's Morning Ireland: "The advice from Nphet is that schools are safe to open.

"The Government took a decision last week, that in light of the particularly high levels of Covid, we want to make a sustained effort to reduce movement this week and as such the reopening of schools was postponed.

"That situation is under constant review. We have always expressed the view that we want to keep childcare facilities and schools open.

"The long shutdown of schools at the beginning was not good for children."

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