Teacher unions are warning of staff shortages and Covid-19 outbreaks ahead of the reopening of schools tomorrow.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan says it's “inevitable” children would pick up the infection from household contacts over the coming days and weeks which, in turn, would lead to more cases and outbreaks in schools.

However, he said latest research indicated that schools were a lower-risk environment for the transmission of the virus and the majority of children who are infected experience a mild form of the disease.

Last night, the Minister for Education said the return to school would be challenging but there was no public health rationale for keeping them closed.

Minister Norma Foley's comment followed a meeting with officials and education partners.

Deputy General of the teachers union, the ASTI, Diarmuid DePaor, is concerned a full return could lead to chaos..

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