Covid-19: Mid-term break will not be extended, says taoiseach

Covid-19: Mid-term break will not be extended, says taoiseach

The mid-term break will not be extended, the government has confirmed. File Picture: Alison Laredo

Any extension to the school mid-term break has been firmly ruled out by the Government.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said the reopening of schools has shown what can be done with collective effort and compliance with safety guidance and sensible measures.

"As a result, the mental, educational, and physical well-being of our nation’s children has been protected and enhanced.

"Keeping our schools open remains a key priority of government — to ensure that the life chances of our young people will not be impaired," Mr Martin said, in a statement issued this afternoon.

Minister of State for Skills and Further Education Niall Collins has also moved to "knock on the head" any possibility of a longer than usual break at the end of this month.

It had been reported that children could be given a two-week break from school in tandem with further Covid-19 restrictions.

However, Mr Collins said there is "absolutely no plan to close our school beyond the traditional one week break around Halloween.

Minister of State for Skills and Further Education, Niall Collins said there was 'no plan to close schools'. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Minister of State for Skills and Further Education, Niall Collins said there was 'no plan to close schools'. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins

"This idea that the schools will close around the mid-term break, I just want to knock that on the head. The schools remaining open is a huge priority of this government," he said.

The possibility of keeping children at home to limit the amount of general travel during a short sharp lock-down had been floated as the numbers of confirmed Covid cases continue to rise.

But Mr Collins said: "It was a stated of priority, and a delivered priority of government to reopen our schools successfully a million pupils and students and children went back to school and to college successfully there was big money invested in both our primary and our secondary, and in our third level of colleges, and it is an absolute top priority.

"I don't think the parents of children and the children themselves would thank us were we to close the schools and all the public health advice, which is available shows quite clearly that schools are not an issue in terms of transmission of Covid," he told RTÉ's The Week in Politics.

Mr Collins also confirmed that Tuesday's Budget will include changes to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).

The Limerick TD said the government has a number of key priorities among them supporting vulnerable people throughout the pandemic, building hospital capacity, investing in capital infrastructure projects, and supporting businesses.

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