Antigen testing for asymptomatic close contacts will begin in primary schools 'on or before' November 29th,
The Education and Health Ministers announced the move today, following weeks of calls for more testing in schools.
Tests will be made available to children in a primary school pod, where a child in the pod has tested positive for COVID-19.
If two or more COVID cases occur in a class within a seven day period - even if outside of a single pod - then antigen testing will be offered to the full class.
In both cases, parents will have the option of receiving free rapid tests from the HSE.
The parents will be asked to carry out three tests on their children who were close contacts, with one test every second day.
A child who returns a positive result from an antigen test will be told to isolate and request a PCR test.
Parents of children who have a positive PCR test will then be asked to inform the school principal, who will then inform the parents of children in the pod about the result.
However, the name or details of the child who tested positive will not be shared with other parents.
Principals will not be required to gather evidence of antigen test results or check whether parents are carrying out the tests.
Children who have not had a positive test result and have no symptoms of the virus can continue to attend school, whether or not they have taken the free antigen tests.
Any child who develops symptoms of the virus will still be told to isolate at home and organise a PCR test.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said: "I welcome this move today, but I am keen to stress the public health message remains.
"Anyone who has any respiratory symptoms should self-isolate at home and get a COVID-19 PCR test as soon as possible.”
It follows growing calls for more testing in schools, after health officials ended routine close contact tracing within schools back in September.
The INTO has said it'll "look closely" at the details of the testing regime announced today.
The teachers' union said: "As a union, we have been campaigning for the introduction of antigen testing since the premature withdrawal of testing and contact tracing from primary schools in September of this year.
"It is imperative any new scheme is properly resourced and kept under review. Infection levels are rising in our schools and the wider community at an alarming rate."