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26/10/2021

Minister calls schools "low risk" despite major outbreaks

Minister calls schools "low risk" despite major outbreaks

Minister calls schools "low risk" despite major outbreaks

The Minister for Health has stated that schools are "low risk" despite major outbreaks over the past week. 

The majority of outbreaks since September 13th 2021 took place in primary schools, according to the latest report from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC). 

Due to be implemented on September 27th, Minister Stephen Donnelly today approved the new recommendations, which will include changes to contact tracing and testing for childcare and primary schools. 

The full list of updates: 

- Automatic contact tracing of close contacts in childcare facilities and primary education will be discontinued (not including special education facilities) 
- Testing of asymptomatic close contacts in childcare facilities and primary education will be discontinued (not including special education facilities) 
- Children aged 12yrs or under, who are identified as close contacts in childcare, educational settings, special education settings or other non-household settings and who are asymptomatic will no longer be required to restrict movements, unless indicated by the local public health team 
- Children aged 12yrs or under who are identified as household close contacts in household settings will still be required to restrict movements and get tested, regardless of symptomatic status 
- Public health advice remains that any child aged 12yrs or under who displays symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should rapidly self-isolate and not attend school or to socialise until 48 hours after they are symptom free 

In a statement, the minister said, "Throughout the pandemic, we have done our utmost to protect our school communities from the serious risks posed by COVID-19. The latest data indicates that schools continue to be a low-risk environment for transmission of COVID-19.

“If you have any concerns or notice symptoms in members of your family, the public health advice remains to self-isolate and arrange a test as soon as possible. You should not attend school, or work or socialise.” 

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