Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

15.39 11 Oct 2020


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There is "no plan" to extend school closures during the mid-term break as part of measures to tackle COVID-19, a Government Minister has confirmed.

It had been mentioned at Cabinet earlier this week that closing schools for two weeks, as opposed to one, at Halloween could help slow the spread of the virus.

However, Junior Minister at the Department of Education Niall Collins said all of the public health advice shows schools aren't a major factor in the recent surge.

He said extending the mid-term break isn't on the cards, while the Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the measure was never really a consideration.

Mr Collins said: "It's very important to assure parents and pupils that there is no plan in place to close schools, both primary and secondary, beyond the one week break at Halloween.

"Any uncertainty that's out there, I would like to quell it emphatically.

"There's no plan to close schools beyond the one week scheduled break at Halloween."

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach said in a statement that Level 3 restrictions can contain the virus and prevent its growth.

He said: "The reopening of our schools has shown what can be done with collective effort and compliance with safety guidance and sensible measures.

"As a result, the mental, educational and physical well-being of our nation’s children has been protected and enhanced.

"Keeping our schools open remains a key priority of government – to ensure that the life chances of our young people will not be impaired."

He added: "The coming weeks will be challenging but working with NPHET, we will respond firmly and appropriately. We have the capacity and resources to come through this and we will."

However, Mr Martin said in an interview with Newstalk that while Level 3 measures can work to slow the spread of COVID-19, he did not rule out moving the country to Level 4 in the coming weeks.

Main image: File photo. Credit:Jordan Kartholl/The Star Press/USA Today Network/Sipa USA

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Coronavirus Covid-19 Halloween Micheál Martin Mid Term Break Niall Collins Schools

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