The Department of Education has confirmed that it intends for all remaining second level students to return to in-school education on 12 April in what will be the final phase of school reopening.

The last group to go back to class on that date will be first to fourth year students.

In a letter to second level schools, the department said it wishes to reaffirm the Government's intention that all students will return to school after the Easter Break on 12 April.

It said the Department of Education, the Department of Health and the HSE are monitoring and reviewing the operation of schools on an ongoing basis and keeping infection prevention and control measures under review.

In relation to school transport, social distancing of 50% capacity has now been achieved on virtually all routes.

Schools closed today for the Easter Break amid some nervousness and uncertainty around reopening.

While there is no indication that schools will not reopen, many primary schools chose to send children home with their schoolbooks.

One school told RTÉ News that while it hoped that it would be reopening in two weeks' time, it was sending schoolbooks home "just in case".

In a separate development, the department has told RTÉ News it has significantly increased staffing on its Covid-19 helpline for school principals following complaints from some schools that no one was answering their calls.

The number of full-time equivalent posts has increased from 27 to 39 over the past week.

The move follows complaints from schools who could not get support despite persistent attempts to get through on the helpline.

The department has said it hopes to add an additional 30 staff to the line to ensure support for schools.