As schools reopen in 2022, it is important that we continue and renew our focus on the public health measures that will help school communities to stay as safe as possible during the coming year.
COVID-19 vaccination uptake in adults, in Ireland is one of the highest globally. This high uptake helps protect those most vulnerable and also very significantly reduces the harm associated with Covid-19 infection for those who are fully vaccinated and boosted. However, we still need to work together to ensure we continue with all measures to best control Covid-19 in schools and that we minimise the onward spread of Covid-19 within schools, and our communities. The infection prevention and control (IPC) measures in place in schools have helped to prevent and control Covid-19 in schools. These measures have been reviewed and updated in light of the emergence of the omicron variant.
Infection prevention and Control Measures:
1) Before attending school:
Symptoms – Please ensure that children do not attend school if they have any symptoms of Covid-19 infection.
Symptom profiles are available here [symptoms] and we advise parents to take a precautionary approach, particularly for children less able to articulate their symptoms, that if a child appears unwell, observe them at home and contact their GP as appropriate.
Close contacts – Please ensure that if your child has been told by the HSE services that they are a close contact of a case of Covid-19, they need to adhere to the advice on the HSE website in relation to restricted movements and testing. Children under 13 years who are household close contacts must restrict their movements for 14 days and they are offered PCR testing at day 0 and day 10. On receipt of a day 10 not-detected PCR test result, they may exit restricted movements. It is important that anyone who has been identified as a close contact, is very aware of COVID-19 symptoms, and isolate and undergo testing should they develop any symptoms.
2) Re-enforcing general public health messages
In addition to ensuring that students do not attend school if they have any symptoms of Covid-19 infection, please ensure all staff and children are reminded of the importance of abiding by the national public health measures currently in place at all times e.g. vaccination (including boosters), social distancing, use of face masks, hand hygiene, ventilation and minimising social contacts.