The Department of Education has confirmed that schools will reopen as planned on Thursday.
Following a meeting between Education Minister Norma Foley, teachers’ unions and education stakeholders, the department said there was “no public health rationale to delay the reopening of schools later this week”.
It said the meeting was productive and all parties recognised the “the importance to students of in-school teaching and learning”.
Ahead of the meeting, teachers’ unions called for a staggered reopening – with only exam-year students returning this week.
The ASTI and TUI also voiced concerns about managing widespread staff shortages and shortages of air filtration devices and medical-grade masks.
The department said public health officials believe the mitigation measures that are in place in schools are “effective and appropriate”.
It comes after the Government coalition party leaders this afternoon agreed schools should reopen as planned.
Taoiseach Micheal Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Transport Minister Eamon Ryan made the decision at their meeting earlier.
On The Pat Kenny Show earlier, ASTI President Eamon Dennehy said staggering the reopening would help ease the pressure on schools.
“In its simplest form, I suppose prioritising, for one thing, the exam years - the Junior Certs and the Leaving Certs - and make sure that there's as little disruption to their education as possible,” he said.
“And, of course, a staggering then would mean that staff would be available for that number of students, and it would be possible maybe to have a more orderly start to the year.”