Exam students & 5th Years to be prioritised if there’s a teacher shortage


While many parents and teachers alike have been worried about the school reopening plan following the surge of the Omicron variant, it seems certain students are going to be prioritised over others, in case some classes need to revert back to online learning.

As reported by Independent.ie, children with special needs, 3rd, 5th and 6th year secondary school students along with younger primary school pupils will all be prioritised if staffing shortages mean that certain classes need to stay home.

This news follows a crunch meeting with Minister for Education Norma Foley, health officials and teacher’s unions which took place yesterday, in which they discussed the post-Christmas school reopening plan, and whether or not they would have enough teachers to staff the schools come January 6, given that so many are currently isolating.

To tackle this issue, school principals have been advised to use various channels to seek out necessary substitutes, including student teachers and previously retired teachers. However, if no substitutes are available, principals are advised to contact the Department of Education for further support, before a decision is made on whether or not a class needs to be sent home.

The Department of Education’s information note outlines that at a minimum, schools should remain open for in-person learning for primary school students with special educational needs, in both special and mainstream schools.

Younger primary school children are also to be prioritised as reportedly they’re less likely to adapt to online learning. At secondary school level, exam years, as well as fifth year students and those with special educational needs are to be prioritised as well.