The Government has announced its new ‘Living with Covid-19’ plan, with clarity being brought on the phased reopening of the education sector, vaccination rollout and the path out of lockdown.

Up he stepped to the podium, once again ready to deliver an address to the whole country. A weary nation awaited, praying Taoiseach Micheal Martin had something to say for them to cling onto for the months ahead.

By the end of his speech, work from home parents rejoiced, students had dates in the diaries for their return to school to once again be reunited with their friends and the whole country was offered a strong glimmer of hope in the form of the vaccination roll-out.

Following his address to the nation, the full plan was published and while Level 5 public health restrictions will remain in place until 5 April, the education sector will begin to open up in the mean time. Here’s what is in the new Living With Covid-19 Plan:

Education

From Monday 1 March, junior infants, senior infants, first and second class in primary’s school will return.

Leaving Cert students in sixth year in secondary schools will also return on this date.

Two weeks later, on 15 March, all primary school children will return. Fifth year students in secondary school are also expected to return at this point.

The remainder of secondary school students will return after the Easter holidays all going to plan.

Vaccination Rollout

1.25 million doses of Covid-19 Vaccines will be administered by the end of March.

On average, more than 1 million doses will be administered in the months of April, May and June.

By the end of April, 47% of people over the age of 18 will have received at least their first dose of the vaccine.

By the end of May, up to 64% of people over the age of 18 will have received their first dose.

By the end of June, some 82% of adults will have received at least one dose and around 60% of adults will be fully vaccinated.

Childcare

From Monday 8 March, Early Childhood Care and Education programme will reopen. 

On the 29 March, early learning and care will reopen. School-age childcare services will also reopen on this date.

After 5 April

The easing of restrictions will be considered on 5 April if community transmission of the virus, daily cases, covid-19 hospital numbers reach acceptable levels. With this taken in to account together with the vaccine rollout some restrictions that may be eased on that date include:

  • Extending the 5km limit that is currently in place
  • Removing restrictions on some outdoor activities and allowing mixing with 1 other household.
  • Return of construction and some sports.

Any further easing of restrictions after 5 April will need a further three to four week period to allow for assessment of the impact of changes, the plan outlines. 

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