The Education Minister has promised more "targeted" supports for schools struggling to find substitute teachers.
Norma Foley said she "absolutely accepts" that the situation for principals and staff on the ground is not easy at the moment.
However, she said a "raft of measures" have already been introduced to deal with the substitution crisis - with more on the way.
The last month has seen principals voice their serious concerns over their struggles to find subs - saying it's a familiar problem that has worsened during the pandemic.
New rules around household close contacts having to isolate have led to fresh concerns that there'll be even more pressure on schools in the coming weeks and months.
On Newstalk Breakfast, Minister Foley said schools have 'consistently abided' by the public health advice during the pandemic - and it's no different now.
She observed: "It’s now public health advice… that where there is an outbreak in a household, everyone within the household - irrespective of their profession - must restrict their movements. I respect that.
“Nothing in terms of COVID has been easy for any sector, least of all the education sector. But I believe the education sector has met the challenges of COVID head-on.
"Notwithstanding that, we do have in specific instances issues around substitutions. I’m conscious of that."
She said schools "in the round" are open and operating, stressing that many measures have already been introduced to help ensure there's substitute cover available.
She said: “We have measures including substitution panels, having all restrictions lifted in terms of those are on career breaks or job sharing, and retired teachers can work now for more than 50 days. More student teachers will also be available for substitution in our schools as their work placements come to a close.
“There will be more measures. In the coming days, for example, we’re looking at issues around CPD, which is the professional development of teachers. There would be substituted cover there - we may well defer that going forward to alleviate [pressure]."
Asked whether she'd support a principal who decided to close their school temporarily over staffing issues, Minister Foley said she's “happy to engage” with schools around any issues they have - suggesting her department will review individual situations on a case-by-case basis.