Concern That Clare Students Won’t Be Able To Return To School Full-Time In September

Concern has emerged that not all secondary school pupils will be returning to school every day from September.

Public Health Officials have made a number of recommendations on social distancing at schools, which will be reviewed and updated over the coming weeks, ahead of the start of the school term.


The Health Protection Surveillance Centre’s interim report has made a number of recommendations for the return to school.

These include that social distancing won’t be essential for children in the first four years of schooling and that third class to sixth class children will be asked to keep one metre apart.

Secondary pupils, meanwhile, are being asked to keep two metres apart, but if that’s not possible, one metre will be sufficient.

The recommendations will now be examined by the Department of Education together with relevant stakeholders including principals, teachers, students, parents and education partners and will be reviewed over the coming weeks.

The guidance has led to concerns though and while Health Minister Stephen Donnelly says the goal is to have every student back to school in August, he knows a tough job lies ahead.

Concern has been expressed that not all secondary schools will be able to have students back five days a week on account of the new rules.

Retired Principal of St Joseph’s Secondary School in Spanish Point, Mary Crawford says some schools just don’t have the space to keep children that far apart.

But she admits that utilising other buildings such as churches or community halls could be an option

A former President of teacher’s union the INTO insists it’s important to provide parents with reassurances that every effort will be made to ensure children return to school.

Corofin Fianna Fáil Councillor Joe Killeen is expecting further developments in the coming weeks.