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Covid-19: 12,000 students deemed close contacts are out of school

About 1,200 schools now having identified a case among students.

Image: Shutterstock/lonndubh

AROUND 12,000 CHILDREN are home from school restricting their movements after being designated a close contact of a Covid-19 case.

The HSE has made this estimation based on 700 primary schools and 500 secondary schools reporting a Covid-19 case.

For those who have tested positive it is very likely they picked up the virus in the community rather than in schools, a spokesperson for the HSE said.

“We will closely monitor the results of the close contact testing so we can better establish the impact of the return to schools.

“Prior to schools returning there were approximately 4,000 cases per week in 0-18-year-olds, many of these children will now have also been in an educational facility and hence a high impact on the schools testing processes. ”

Niamh O‘Beirne, head of testing and tracing in the HSE, told RTÉ News the situation in schools will be clearer by the end of the week once further tests are carried out.

Under current school guidelines, students who are fully vaccinated do not need to restrict their movements or get a test if they are a close contact of Covid-19, as long as they don’t have any symptoms of the virus. 

Those who are not fully vaccinated must get tested for Covid-19 and restrict their movements for 14 days. They will be permitted to stop restricting their movements if they test negative for Covid-19 10 days after they were last in contact with the person who tested positive and they do not have any symptoms of the virus.

The HSE will be in touch with any student who is deemed to be a close contact.

The executive said it has also expanded its administrative team by 80 staff members to assist with the school response – verifying the details of close contacts and ensure people are booked into testing.

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