Ireland’s Department of Education today provided an update to their Roadmap to reopen schools

The wearing of face masks or face coverings has now officially been recommended by Ireland’s Department of Education for teachers and secondary school students who cannot maintain 2 metres of physical distancing in school or on school transport.

Read More: Plans unveiled to "fully and safely" reopen schools in Ireland in late August

The news comes about a week after the Department published its “Roadmap for the full return to school,” which aims to reopen Ireland’s schools by the end of the month.

In the update published on August 7, the Department of Education said: “It is now recommended that teachers and secondary school students wear face coverings, similar to those worn in shops or on public transport, when a physical distance of 2 meters cannot be maintained.”

All students at post-primary level, apart from specific exemptions, will be required to wear face coverings in the classroom. All staff and students using post-primary school transport services will be required to wear face coverings while in transit.

Staff, including teachers at both primary and post-primary levels, who cannot maintain a 2-meter distance from students or other staff will be required to wear face coverings.

The update noted that all other prior advice provided by Ireland's Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) will still apply.

TD Norma Foley, Ireland's Minister for Education, additionally said in today's update: “Last week we announced a comprehensive plan that will support our schools to reopen for the new school year.

"This week I am pleased to announce that a considerable portion of the funding due to schools has been paid, allowing schools to make vital progress in making the changes that are needed to safely reopen.

“For example, €102 million in funding has already issued to primary and post-primary schools to carry out minor works to create more space in the classroom or install additional handwashing stations.

"Funding has already been made available for schools to hire aides to help reconfigure classrooms and install hand sanitizing stations. Guidance has also been circulated to schools detailing how they can best access PPE and hand sanitizer supplies.”

Elsewhere, Minister Foley also said today: “I announced last week that the Department is making funding for 1,080 new teachers at post-primary level available and putting in place new substitution and supply arrangements to provide additional teachers to all schools, in these extraordinary circumstances.

“I am pleased to say that a new Teaching Council regulation will enable, on an exceptional basis, teachers who are qualified abroad to complete their induction in Ireland. This is an added source of teacher supply and I have no doubt that this, along with the combination of other measures, will enhance the supply of qualified teachers available to primary and post-primary schools for the new school year."

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