The head of the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) has appealed to all sides 'to work towards finding a solution' to school re-openings.
It comes after the Government scrapped a plan to re-open special needs schools on Thursday.
The Department of Education said the decision was down to "a lack of co-operation by key staff unions in the primary sector."
John Boyle, General-Secretary of the INTO, told Newstalk Breakfast this is not the time for blame.
"I don't think... that the culture of blame is going to sort this out, it's a waste of time.
"We need to focus on fixing the problem here and finding a solution".
He added that INTO members "asked for a re-think in relation to this week".
"And I think it behoves everybody now to get back in... and instead of blaming each other, to work towards finding a solution.
"So that all of the children of Ireland get back to school as soon as possible - and I believe that that is possible".
However, he questioned whether a February 1st target date for this "was achievable or not".
"But certainly if the numbers continue to drop then we need to be optimistic about this."
Mr Boyle said there is a "heightened level of anxiety among everybody in Ireland at the moment."
"Everybody is devastated that their country is in the state that it's in, where last week we were at the highest levels in the world."
"So need to get the numbers down".
"It's really disappointing that it came to this impasse last evening after all the work that we did with Government over the summer".
He said Ireland remains "outliers" in terms of children's education.
"All of the children of Ireland are off school at the moment, doing remote learning.
"We got them back for 80 days, and we were outliers for long periods throughout that time as a country - and we continue to be outliers now in a different way unfortunately for the parents and the children".