Fórsa this afternoon (Wednesday) welcomed the Government’s announcement that asymptomatic students in special education settings won’t be part of the broader relaxation of contact tracing for primary school students from next Monday (27th September). Instead they will continue to be subject to contact tracing protocols.
From Monday, the broader relaxation of contact tracing protocols will affect asymptomatic primary school students, who will not be required to stay at home if they are a close contact of someone who tests positive for Covid-19. This will reduce the large numbers of students without symptoms who are currently excluded from school whilst they await the outcome of a Covid test.
The current protocols will continue to apply to primary school students who attend special schools or special classes.
However, due to the enhanced risk to vulnerable students, the current protocols will continue to apply to primary school students who attend special schools or special classes. Here, contact tracing will continue to be carried out following a public health risk assessment for asymptomatic students identified as being close contacts.
The contact tracing protocols remain in place for post-primary students, and all school-age children identified as close contacts through community testing will still have to restrict their movements even if they are asymptomatic.
Students with symptoms will still be required to restrict their movements and stay away from school until HSE advice allows them to return.
Fórsa’s head of education Andy Pike said the Government had listened to the union’s concerns about vulnerable children in special settings. “It’s important to stress that this relaxation only affects students who do not display symptoms. Students with symptoms will still be required to restrict their movements and stay away from school until HSE advice allows them to return.
“We support the continuation of contact tracing in both post-primary and special education settings until the prevalence of Covid-19 in school-aged children begins to recede. In the meantime, it is vital that schools are able to avail of sufficient HSE support through regional public health teams. The clear message has to be that to keep schools as safe as possible please do not to send students to school if they display symptoms of Covid-19,” he said.