Ireland will reopen schools in phases starting next week, but it will extend other COVID-19 restrictions until April to curb the spread of the virus, Prime Minister Micheal Martin announced on Feb. 23.
According to the revised Level 5 restrictions that have been extended until April 5, schools will allow students to return on March 1, starting with junior and senior infants and secondary school students.
Early childhood care and education preschools will reopen on March 8, while primary schools and fifth year students in secondary school will return on March 15.
Early learning services, as well as school-age childcare services, will reopen on March 29 and by April 12, all remaining secondary school students will return.
The restrictions will continue to require people to stay at home, except for essential purposes such as work and education. Also, a ban on household mixing will remain in place.
All non-essential services, including museums, pubs, and gyms, will remain closed. Bars, cafes, and restaurants will only be open for take-away food and delivery.
“We will get through this. I know how hard it is and the toll it is taking on people’s mental health and well-being, but I also know that the end is now truly in sight,” Martin said in a televised broadcast.
Martin also pledged that over 80% of eligible adults will receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by July.
According to the latest government figures, 350,322 people in the country of five million have received the vaccine.
The latest government figures also show that Ireland has reported 575 cases on Feb. 23, bringing the total number of cases nationwide to 216,300. On the same day, 45 additional deaths have been recorded, bringing the total number of deaths to 4,181.