The arranging of children into discrete class groups, known as pods at primary level, and the reconfiguration of classrooms at both primary and second level can all now be discontinued.
However, the department has told post-primary schools that it does not envisage that school timetables – which were designed to incorporate Covid-19 restrictions – will be rearranged mid-year.
Schools will set about unwinding the restrictions when they reopen on Monday after the mid-term break, but it may take some days or longer for many of the restrictions to be fully unwound. The department has told principals it does not envisage that preparation will be undertaken by schools during the mid-term.
There are mixed views about the removal of restrictions. While many staff and students have welcomed the change, many also remain concerned at the potential impact.
While many Covid-19 restrictions are being discontinued, some safety measures are set to remain.
Schools have been advised to continue using good infection prevention and control measures such as hand washing and enhanced ventilation.
Students or staff who are symptomatic should continue to self-isolate. Antigen tests will continue to be provided to primary schools, with no change to the current scheme.