Fianna Fáil members have questioned whether students will return to classrooms at the end of the month, at a meeting of the parliamentary party on Wednesday night.
Sources at the meeting said John Lahart, the party’s TD for Dublin south west, questioned whether the figures of new Covid infections will be low enough to allow for a return to school, or if students will end up losing more time.
Mr Lahart also asked whether schools would have to be closed again at some point in the future, but told the meeting “let’s not let the virus decide the fate of the Leaving Cert”, and that certainty was needed for children in exam years.
During a wide-ranging debate on Covid education, lasting around 90 minutes, the meeting also heard that Leaving Certificate students should be given extra time during exams or a greater choice of questions, if the exam goes ahead.
The call was made by Senator Malcolm Byrne during a debate on education, which also saw members of the parliamentary party raise concerns about lost classroom time for sixth years, and the impact of prolonged school closures on disadvantaged students and those with additional needs.
In a thinly veiled criticism of Minister for Higher and Further Education Simon Harris, Mr Byrne said Minister for Education Norma Foley should speak about third level education more as the relevant minister was more interested in speaking about health.
Mr Byrne also said there should be additional supports, and that if the option of predicted grades is taken up, the algorithm used needs to be audited early and explained to students.