Secondary teachers' union ASTI said it was concerned that the "investment and resources being made available to schools may be insufficient" in the new educational reopening roadmap.

Funding for more than 1,000 additional secondary school teachers, "enhanced cleaning and hand hygiene" supports and classroom "bubbles" for primary schools have all been detailed in the Government's €375m school reopening plan.

The range of measures were unveiled following a Cabinet meeting at Dublin Castle this afternoon.

In a statement, it said it will be insisting on regular reviews to deal with any emerging deficiencies in the plan as they may arise.

It welcomed the commitment to pause curricular reform for the 2020/21 school year. "This will serve to reduce the burden of initiative overload that has been prevalent in our schools in recent years."

The ASTI also said all measures "must be sustained for as long as the threat of the pandemic remains".

The Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) said it expected "intensive and ongoing" engagement with the Department of Education on matters that have yet to be finalised.

These issues include teachers and students in high-risk categories who may not be able to return to schools, disruption to delivery of tuition and provision of IT and other resources to help disadvantaged students who have been marginalised by the pandemic.

National school teachers' union INTO said it welcomed today's publication as it provided some much-needed clarity. However, it said further clarity would be needed on substitution.

"The public health advice is clear - a teacher presenting with symptoms should not go to school. That therefore creates a need for a robust substitute supply panel," the union said in a statement.

"We welcome today's commitment to establish nearly 60 supply panels across the country, with at least one panel in each county. 

"We also sought agreement on the provision of substitute cover for certain other absences, we still await clarity on these."

The Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools (ACCS), Education and Training Boards
Ireland (ETBI) and Joint Managerial Body (JMB) said they welcomed the package of measures to facilitate the reopening of schools.

"The reopening presents us with obvious challenges at school level and will not be without difficulty,
but it is in the best interest of our students that they return and all in our school communities will
endeavour to ensure that this occurs in as safe a manner as possible."

The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) also welcomed the guidance issued today.

"While we are faced with a short period of time to implement the school reopening guidelines as laid out by the Minister this evening, we want to assure students, their parents, school teachers and staff that school leaders will do everything they can to ensure our schools open in August and September, in line with public health advice," said director Clive Byrne.

Read more: At a glance: What did we learn about schools today?

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said that the implementation of the roadmap will be very difficult because of the tight timeframe.

He said: "Three or four weeks is a ridiculous timeframe to turn some of this around and I am shocked at the lack of action in some areas."

He also said it was a missed opportunity in relation to reducing class size. "One in five primary school children are in a class of over 30.

"We have the biggest primary school class sizes in Europe and the Government seems to think it is a good idea to keep them that way. If there was ever a time to reduce class sizes, surely this is it."

And he said Sinn Féin were worried that the Government had "massively underestimated the number of substitute teachers required for panels at primary school level".

The Labour Party's Education Spokesperson, Aodhan Ó Ríordáin, said the plan came very late in the day.

"This plan is late, maybe too late for some schools and the Department will have to accept responsibility if some are not able to reopen fully at the end of August and work with them to address that.

"However there is a major financial commitment that seeks to address many long standing issues in the sector and I welcome that," said Mr Ó Ríordáin.

The Social Democrats Education Spokesperson, Gary Gannon, expressed concern that there may not be enough substitute post-primary school teachers available in the event of a second wave of Covid-19.

"While there are positive elements in the plan, I fear that the lateness of the decision will mean that schools will be in a race against the clock to put all the necessary measures in place before students can safely return to school," he said.

Tralee school principal, parents assess the roadmap  

Tralee CBS is a primary school in the heart of Education Minister Norma Foley's Kerry constituency reports Paschal Sheehy.

Like most other schools around the country, it is grappling with the challenges of reopening in just over a month's time.

Tralee CBS is a co-ed primary school catering for 450 pupils in 16 classes. At present, the school is a building site, as the finishing touches are being applied to a €3 million euro project to replace pre-fabs with four new classrooms.

Denis Coleman is principal at Tralee CBS. Before coronavirus ever happened, reopening the school was always going to be a challenge. He said he is determined to meet that challenge.

"Right now," Denis told RTÉ this evening, "it's all about August 31. We will have to get 450 children and a staff of 54 people in here and they will be in here on that Monday."

Parents Claire Smith and Derek Rusk joined Denis to watch today's news conference by Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Education Minister Norma Foley.

Claire's five-year old son Danny hopes to join older brother Ben, who is eight, at the school next month.

'It seems to be a very comprehensive plan," said Claire, minutes after the news conference had concluded. "Every parent wants to see a full return to school at the end of August. I think this plan provides guidelines for doing that."

Derek Rusk's 11-year old will be going into fifth class at Tralee CBS at the end of next month.

"A lot of thought has gone into the PPE side of things, the cleaning and the eradication of the virus at the classroom level," Derek said. "This can only help the kids and the teachers."

Denis Coleman believes a viable way forward has been identified for schools in the Government's plan.

"In the area of helping principals of schools to put the proper facilities in place, (to put) proper cleaning in place, substitute cover in place, a detailed map for schools to return -- I would be confident that we can get them (pupils and teachers) in on 31 August," he said.