July 25, 2021

COVID-19 UPDATE: Four new cases of virus in Wicklow, doubts over plans to reopen schools in September

The number of coronavirus cases in Wicklow has risen to 637, according to the latest county-by-county breakdown of Covid-19 figures.

The latest figures reveal four more people locally have contracted the virus since the start of last week.

It comes as it emerged the Department of Education’s most senior official has raised major doubts about schools being able to reopen in September.

According to a report in today’s Sunday Independent, department secretary general Sean O Foghlu told Opposition TDs during a teleconference on Friday that there would be “significant accommodation challenges” to operate smaller class sizes to comply with public health guidelines in schools.

A department spokesperson told the newspaper decisions on reopening schools would be underpinned by public health advice, the return-to-work protocol published over the weekend and other countries’ experiences.

“To assist with the development of contingency plans for the reopening and operation of schools in an environment that may require social distancing and other public health requirements, the department will be engaging with relevant stakeholders and experts from within the education sector,” the spokesperson said.

“A core objective of the contingency plans will be to ensure that schools and other education settings can reopen and operate in a safe manner that is consistent with public health advice.”

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