Primary school students will attend school for one day per week and secondary school pupils for two days per week if the two-metre social distancing rule remains in place in September, Education Minister Joe McHugh has said.
McHugh said if the rule remains in place, students will engage in “blended learning” from home on the other days.
“I want a common sense approach to re-opening schools in September,” he said.
“Where possible, children and young people and staff should be far enough away from each other so they are not breathing on or touching each other and this will have to be accompanied by additional hygiene measures in schools,” he added.
“I want to be very clear with everyone around the impact of one-metre and two-metre social distancing in schools.
“At primary level the two-metre rule would mean almost all pupils attending school just one day per week. At post-primary level, this would mean most pupils attending schools two days during the week.”
He said if it was reduced to one metre, primary school pupils would attend for two-and-a-half days per week and for secondary school pupils, they would attend on a half-time basis.
McHugh also said more funding will be provided to schools to help them pay for additional hygiene equipment and changes to classrooms.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the current government plan would see schools open at the end of August to begin the new school year.
However, the reopening of primary and secondary schools as planned will be contingent on how Covid-19 is spreading within the community at that point.