The phased reopening of schools continued today with the return of around 350,000 children and teenagers to their classrooms.

All remaining primary school children went back, as well as fifth year students at second level. 

This latest step means that the country's primary schools are now fully open.

At secondary schools, fifth year students today joined sixth years who returned two weeks ago. But more junior second level students have another four weeks to wait. The target date for their return is 12 April. 

Over the coming weeks all eyes will be on the number of Covid-19 cases detected in schools, the incidence of the virus among school age children, but also on any wider impact that school reopening - with more people on the move as a result - may have.

According to NPHET, there were six outbreaks reported in schools last week and among school-age children and teens around 100 cases are currently being recorded each day.

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A school principal in Co Wicklow said it is important that people do not linger at school gates while dropping children off or to organise playdates, which could undermine the school 'pod' system, aimed at keeping children safe.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Principal of St Laurence's National School Carol Mooney said the first phase of the return school had passed smoothly.

She said some teachers are anxious about the full return, but the key is for people not to congregate at school gates and to drop children off and leave immediately.

She said parents have been very supportive and the school is asking them to continue to support the requests not to gather.