There were 19 clusters of Covid-19 recorded in schools last week, according to the latest data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

The figures, published today, show schools are the third most likely place to record clusters.

A cluster or outbreak is defined as the discovery of two or more cases in a setting.

The overwhelming majority of outbreaks continue to be recorded in private homes, with 652 last week.

The next highest number, 20 cases, were registered in workplaces, and 18 in settings defined as "extended family".

The 19 outbreaks in schools brings to 202 the total of school cases recorded since they reopened in September.

Plans to hold conventional Leaving Cert in 2021

Meanwhile, Minister for Education Norma Foley met representatives from student, parent, teacher and school representative bodies today as part of planning for next year's State examinations.

The online meeting also included a number of statutory bodies such as the State Examinations Commission.

This advisory group will meet again in the coming weeks, according to the Department of Education.

In a statement, Ms Foley said members of the group would be asked to share their expertise, experience and advice in the planning for the 2021 exams, as they had for this year's process.

The minister reiterated that her firm intention was for the conventional Leaving Certificate to be held in 2021, with the appropriate public health and contingency measures in place.

The Department of Education said this view was echoed by members of the advisory group.