Education Minister to update public on schools reopening

Education Minister to update public on schools reopening
Minister for Education Norma Foley arrives at Dublin Castle for a cabinet meeting this week.

Minister for Education Norma Foley is to update the public on the re-opening of schools in six weeks time.

It is expected tens of millions of euro will be made available to cover the cost of any safety measures needed to protect staff and students from Covid-19.

Enhanced supervision and substitution will be provided to cover an expected increase in teacher absences.

The Taoiseach will meet the Education Minister this morning to discuss the plan.

Yesterday the Tánaiste warned it would reflect very badly on Ireland if we were on the only country in Europe that cannot reopen schools in the coming weeks.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn yesterday however said that schools were "absolutely on track" to reopen based on how virus infection rate had stabilised. 

The latest modelling data shows all key indicators of Covid-19 are now stable or declining, including low intensive care admission rates, and an average of one death every three to five days.

Chair of the Covid-19 modelling advisory group, Professor Phillip Nolan, says the reduction in the rate is 'encouraging'.

"We seem to have reduced transmission of the virus, but it won't stay this way unless we maintain this effort.

"It's strong encouragement to continue those efforts, to interrupt the chains of transmission, and as a consequence bring the reproduction rate down below 1.0, and to see a decline in the number of cases that are being reported, week-on-week."

Meanwhile, preparations are underway for colleges and universities to welcome first-year students from late September, according to the Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris.

The majority of third-level institutions in Ireland are aiming to induct first-years across their respective campuses from September 28.

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