Children return to school after six months away –

The phased reopening of Ireland’s schools began this morning after more than five months of disruption.

Almost one million children and teenagers are due to return to around 4,000 primary and second level schools from today for the first time since the middle of March. Many schools are reopening this week, with the remainder next week.

First-year students began their first day at St Leo’s College in Carlow town with a prayer service in a large assembly hall. The 152 students sat on chairs that had a one-metre distance between them.

The principal of the secondary school said she does not believe the school has been in contravention of Government guidelines by gathering 152 students in a hall this morning on their first day back.

Welcoming students to the school, principal Niamh Broderick told them: “We are all in this together.”

“We have followed all of the Department guidelines. We did everything

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