Jack Quann
Jack Quann

08.19 20 Apr 2020


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Primary schools may have to have a morning and an afternoon session when they re-open, according to the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO).

The Health Minister Simon Harris says he has discussed the possibility of re-opening primary schools, even for just one day a week.

Latest figures show 610 people have died from COVID-19, while there are more than 15,000 confirmed cases in Ireland.

General-Secretary of the INTO, John Boyle, told Newstalk Breakfast the school day may have to be staggered because of class sizes.

"We do need to start looking beyond the pandemic and looking to get society back to normal".

"Maybe the Danish experience, we might learn from that: they had some schools back on a phased basis.

"The interesting thing in Denmark is they had I suppose 150 less deaths and only half the number of cases - even thought their population is bigger than ours.

"So we would learn from those situations.

"Our members would be ready - they're ready this morning to get back to facilitating the remote learning".

"We have the largest classes in Europe - 30 children in a class - and obviously they'd have about 60 square metres to play around with in the classroom.

"I couldn't imagine, initially, that everybody would be back together.

"Perhaps if half the class come in in the morning, and the other half came in in the afternoon or something - we could talk about those things in the discussions".

"Hopefully we will be back - schools in primary don't actually close until the 30th of June in any event.

"So it would be great to see that we would get back in contact  physically with our children and back into schools and for teams of teachers to begin working more closely together in the school building".

INTO: School day may be staggered with morning and afternoon classes

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Main image: Pencil cases and notebooks lie on a table in a classroom in the primary school in Germany. Picture by: Monika Skolimowska/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa

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