Teachers and students returned to schools across the country yesterday for the first time since Christmas, but there was a high absence rate among both groups due to Covid-19.
Teachers have reported an “incredibly difficult first day back” after schools reopened on Thursday following the Christmas break.
Children around the country arrived at classrooms after public health officials told school managers and unions it was safe, despite record Covid-19 case numbers.
The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) revealed the feedback from their members was that “today was an incredibly difficult first day back”.
Union general secretary John Boyle said: “School leaders and teachers have put in Trojan work to ensure the reopening of schools and the delivery of classroom tuition to as many pupils as possible.
“Without the support of student teachers, the situation would have been even more challenging. He said.
The union, representing more than 40,000 primary school teachers, also urged the Government to reinstate contact tracing in schools in order to maximise the chances of providing in-person teaching and learning throughout this term. “Pregnant teachers have shared their anxiety and concerns with us, and we have raised these issues with the Department of Education and public health,” The Secretary John Boyle said, adding: “Principals, essentially abandoned by public health during the last term, need robust, consistent and swift support as they chart the uncertain days and weeks ahead.”