The Government has confirmed that Special Classes will return in Secondary schools in the last week of the month.
The two main secondary school teacher unions have now backed the plan, along with Fórsa which represents Special Needs assistants.
Special classes in secondary schools will now return on February 22nd, the same day as they return in primary schools.
Special schools are due to return tomorrow.
The Education Minister Norma Foley said she was pleased to see the classes return.
“These special classes support some of our most vulnerable students,” she said.
“The return to in-person teaching and learning is vital to these students and I want to thank everyone who has engaged in this process to reach a solution which is aimed at meeting their needs.”
Minister Foley said “intensive engagement” on the full reopening of schools is continuing.
“The Government is committed to the full and safe reopening of schools for all students as soon as possible, and will continue to work with all stakeholders, in line with public health advice, to achieve this,” she said.
Earlier the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) said its executive council had unanimously agreed to facilitate the return of Leaving Cert students to school in the same week, “subject to public health advice.”
However, the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) would only say that it “continues to engage with the Department of Education on the safe re-opening of schools for other cohorts of students.”
It said its Standing Committee is, “of the view that the government’s Framework Plan is inadequate and needs to be substantially reworked in order to ensure a safe, phased return of all students in the coming period of time.”
In all, 8,224 special needs students will return to 124 schools tomorrow.
At the end of the month, 7,520 students will return to special classes in primary school and 2,808 will return to secondary school.