Schools empty since Christmas
Special schools will remain closed for another week and a half while children with special needs in mainstream education have to wait a further three weeks to return to schoo which could mean it would be late February or early March before Leaving Cert students are back in school.
That is the implication of a deal reportedly struck between the Government and trade unions.
RTÉ is has reported that special schools will reopen on Thursday, February 11 while classes in mainstream schools for pupils with special needs will reopen on Monday, February 22.
The broadcaster says the agreement was reached this evening by the Department of Education, and the trade unions Fórsa, and the INTO who represent teachers and SNAs.
Parents are challenging the continued closure of special needs education in the court.
The Cabinet sub-committee on Education has met on Monday to discuss exams, schools reopening and childcare.
Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris wants clarity for Leaving Certificate students and he hoped this would be possible in "the coming days".
The Government has indicated that the Leaving Cert students would not return to school until after the special needs classes have returned.