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'Frustration' as Leaving Cert students in Limerick to miss written exams due to Covid outbreak

Over the past fortnight there have been 800 confirmed cases in Limerick.
Jun 5th 2021, 1:13 PM 57,169 28

THERE HAVE BEEN calls today for back-up papers to be put in place for Leaving Certificate students in Limerick who will miss examinations next week as a result of being a confirmed Covid case or a close contact.

The incidence rate in Limerick is now 426 cases per 100,000, with over 100 cases reported in the county on Thursday alone. Over the past fortnight there have been 800 confirmed cases in Limerick.

Yesterday Department of Public Health Mid-West said a small number of students who were due to sit the Leaving Certificate will miss exams next week because they have contracted the virus, or they are a close contact of someone with Covid.

The department said the catalyst for this multi-community outbreak was indoor gatherings, including household visits, organised small-to-large social events, family and extended family gatherings, birthday parties and house parties.

Sinn Féin spokesperson on education Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD today said it was “entirely predictable” that students would miss out on written exams because of self-isolation, and that a back-up paper should have been prepared.

“I read this news with some frustration as I have been raising this danger for several months now, but I expect with not half as much frustration as the students themselves or their families,” he said.

These are students who made a conscious decision to take these exams. They studied, they completed projects and sat oral exams. None of that work will now count towards their Leaving Cert, through no fault of their own, as they have to self-isolate.

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He pointed out that in a “normal year” back-up papers are usually prepared in case the main paper is compromised or for students who are sick or bereaved.

Ó Laoghaire urged the Minister for Education to step in urgently and engage with the State Examinations Commission on the issue.

Officials have ruled out a localised lockdown for the county, but the Chief Medical Officer and Minister for Health have met with public health officials to discuss management of the spike in cases. 

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Michelle Hennessy

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