Know your rights: Returning to school

When schools reopen, what health and safety rules will children have to follow?

The Government plans to reopen schools at the start of the new school year – end August 2020.

Students will have to keep a physical distance from one another when they are outside the classroom, including in hallways and outdoor spaces.

Inside the classroom, students will work within designated groupings or ‘bubbles’. Schools may use PE halls and other areas as classrooms to allow for physical distancing.

Students may also do ‘blended learning’. This means that their school programme will include learning at school and online learning at home.

Students and teachers will do more hand-washing and sanitising, and they will take staggered breaks and lunch times. There will be enhanced cleaning regimes in all schools to minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19.

If your child is using school transport, they must:

  • Maintain physical distancing while waiting for the bus
  • Use hand sanitiser when boarding the bus
  • Always sit in a pre-assigned seat
  • Always sit beside the same child (either a sibling or a child from the same class group)
  • Observe respiratory etiquette at all times while waiting for and on-board the bus
  • Get off the bus one-by-one

If your child is in secondary school and using school transport, they must also wear a mask while waiting for and on-board the bus. Children with medical or special educational needs do not have to wear a face covering.

You can read the Government’s Roadmap for the full return to school for detailed guidance on returning to school.[


During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

A limited number of appointments are being made in Citizens Information Centres offices where social distancing can be facilitated. You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.