Ireland’s largest teaching union has called for “vigilance” as schools prepare to fully reopen today.
More than a million students and staff will return to classrooms on Monday as Ireland prepares to ease its coronavirus restrictions for the first time this year.
The Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) has said there is “anxiety” among school communities over the return, and has called for an ongoing review of the situation.
General secretary Micheal Gillespie said: “We have always said that the preference of our members is a return to face-to-face teaching and learning as long as all risk mitigation measures are in place and strictly adhered to.
“With the full return to school buildings of all year groups today, there is understandable anxiety among all in school communities, particularly given concerns around new strains of the virus.
“At a national level, the situation must be kept under forensic review, while adherence to the measures that protect the health and safety of students, staff and their families must be the key priority in every school.
“We have already made clear that we will not tolerate breaches of key safety measures in workplaces.”
He added: “Keeping schools open in a manner that is safe and sustainable is a challenge for all of society and everybody must meet their own responsibilities in this regard.”
Today also sees the 5km travel limit relaxed to allow people to travel anywhere within their county, or up to 20km if crossing into another county.
People from two households will be allowed to meet up outdoors for social and recreational purposes, however, the Government has insisted that private gardens remain off-limits.
All schoolchildren are to return to in-class learning, while construction on housing and essential projects will also resume.
Further easing of restrictions is expected on April 19 and April 26.