Parents representatives have told the Oireachtas Special Committee on Covid-19 that a majority of parents want their children to return to school fully at the beginning of the new school year.

CEO of the National Parents Council Primary Aine Lynch told the committee that the long school closure had impacted on some children more than others, while  a survey carried out by the organisation found that over 90% per cent of parents said it was important that children return to school fully in September. 

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said he is confident it is possible to manage a full reopening of schools and colleges in the autumn.

Interim public health guidance was published yesterday, to govern the reopening of schools in late August and September, and recommended one-metre physical distancing between second level students in the classroom.

 Social distancing won't be essential for children in the first four years of primary school, while third to 6th class pupils will be asked to keep one metre apart.

For some schools this will be a problem, basically if the school building is old  - the social distancing will be more difficult, particularly if the class size is large. Anything over 25 pupils in a primary classroom will be problematic. Some schools have classes of 30 students per teacher.

But in contrast there are schools that are confident that they can meet the requirements, an example is Breaffy National School, Castlebar. 

Midwest News spoke to the principal of St John’s NS Breaffy , George Moran, who explained that  they have no classes of 30 pupils, while each of the modern classrooms have their own toilets and sinks .

 Mr Moran expects that all students, more than 400 at this large school, will be able to return in September, adhering to the latest regulations.

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