Ireland 'on target' to reopen schools in September, Taoiseach says

Ireland 'on target' to reopen schools in September, Taoiseach says

Speaking at the weekend, Micheál Martin said that whilst he is concerned about the Delta variant of Covid-19, he does not envisage it impacting on children returning to primary and secondary schools in September. Pic Larry Cummins

THE Taoiseach has said Ireland is "fully on target" to see schools reopening in September. 

Speaking at the weekend, Micheál Martin said that whilst he is concerned about the Delta variant of Covid-19, he does not envisage it impacting on children returning to primary and secondary schools in September.

"We’re fully on target [to re-open schools in September], but what the CMO has asked us, and has asked the HSE and NPHET, is to just have a look at everything again to do with all of the protocols we have in terms of education, to make sure that we can update it and improve it."

Mr Martin said what the Government has been told by the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan and the Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn is that there will "unequivocally" be another wave of the pandemic. 

He said case numbers in the United Kingdom are "worrying" but added that he believes the Government's decision to delay Ireland's reopening plan "will slow down the spreading of the Delta variant".

"It’s the sensible thing to do in light of what we’re learning from the United Kingdom and Scotland in particular,” he said.

Mr Martin said it is "a race between the vaccines and the virus".

"I think there are opportunities in terms of the vaccination programme to mitigate [the spread of the Delta variant].

"As we vaccinate more, we reduce risk," he said.

One area that will be particularly focused on ahead of the reopening of schools will be the whole issue of the proper ventilation of buildings and classrooms, the Taoiseach said.

"We’ll be looking at some areas around ventilation to make sure that buildings are properly ventilated – that’s an important point in respect of Covid-19 as well."

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