Keep Irish schools closed until Easter to prevent an extended lockdown

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We want all Irish schools to stay online until Easter to prevent a 4th wave and, inevitably, an extended lockdown. The health service is already struggling to cope with this surge, and further pressure will be put on it with more than 300,000 people set to return to school over the next few weeks.

With the UK variant, which is 70% more transmissible and easier for teenagers to spread, now the dominant strain here, it is simply not safe for students to return. If students do return to school during March, Covid will spread through the schools at a previously unseen rate and, when spread to other students' vulnerable family members, could lead to severe illness and possibly death.

We are asking Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, Minister for Education Norma Foley and the Government to at least consider keeping schools closed until Easter to prevent a rapid increase in cases and deaths, as well as to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed again.