Pupils with special needs attending mainstream primary and secondary schools will return to the classroom today as the phased reopening of schools continues.

Pupils with special needs attending mainstream primary and secondary schools will return to the classroom today as the phased reopening of schools continues.
Meanwhile, special schools which have been operating at half capacity since February 11 will reopen from next Monday with all pupils attending for a full five-day week.
The gradual reopening of schools will continue next Monday for Leaving Cert pupils as well as junior infants, senior infants, first and second classes at primary level.
Remaining primary pupils are expected to return in the followi ng weeks. However it is unclear when the rest of second level pupils will return, but many may be waiting until after the Easter holidays.
 The return to the classroom has put the issue of ventilation under the spotlight.
It is understood that school reopening guidelines for next week will not place an increased emphasis on ventilation despite international advice that highly transmissible Covid-19 variants mean windows should be open.
The Department of Education last night contradicted a senior Government source who said there would be an emphasis on ventilation even if it means the kids and the teacher having to wear their coats in class.
However, a spokesman for Education Minister Norma Foley said: The guidelines have not been finalised and are still subject to discussion with stakeholders. They will be issued after Cabinet.
There has been a previous row between the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) and the department on the claimed need for more ventilation with an expert group now appointed to advise on the issue. The ventilation advice to schools remains unchanged from last November before the advent of the more transmissible UK variant as well as the emergence of the Brazilian and South African variants. The ministers spokesman said last night, however: We will always take best public health advice.
The World Health Organisation advises schools to ensure adequate ventilation and increase total airflow.
Clean, natural ventilation (ie opening windows) should be used inside buildings where possible, without recirculating the air, it states.
Nphet discussed updated guidelines on ventilation prepared by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre just last month, but they have since been passed to an expert group for consideration.
One senior Irish scientist said last night: Schools have recognised the importance of ventilation but they can always do better.
Some have already had the kids in class in their coats.
The Government is hoping the limited reopening of schools goes well so that other classes can return. The return will be closely monitored with school inspections being carried out .
The Cabinet Covid Sub-Committee meets today to hear final Nphet advice before a revised Living with Covid plan goes to Cabinet tomorrow.
The Taoiseach will then address the nation, emphasising the need to remain strong as the vaccine roll-out continues.
The mandatory hotel quarantine red list of 20 countries will be discussed before legislation is introduced in the Dáil this week.
Opposition politicians have said mandatory quarantines should apply to all arrivals.
Meanwhile, Cabinet sources said the revised Covid plan would offer no target dates for the relaxation of controls or reopening of particular areas of the economy.
There will be no false promises, said a source.
The current restrictions will apply until Easter (April 4) and a review will take place then.
One further death and 679 new cases of the virus were reported yesterday.
Meanwhile, it could be April before new cases fall below 100 a day, according to Prof Philip Nolan of Nphet.
He said progress in suppressing the virus had slowed, primarily because of the dominance of the more transmissible UK variant.
Irish Independent