It has been reported that a primary school in Co. Wexford has been forced to close until November due to an outbreak of Covid-19, moving to remote, online learning for the time being.
A total of 30 positive Covid cases were reported within the 270-student school.
Addressing parents on Sunday evening, school principal Vicky Barrow expressed concerns over the HSE’s new close contact protocol, and explained that the board of management has decided to close the school as a “vital health and safety precaution for all,” as reported by The Irish Times.
In her letter to parents, Barrow explained that the school was first notified about a positive Covid-19 case on October 8. However, due to new HSE guidelines, none of the child’s classmates were considered close contacts, and were therefore allowed to continue going to school, so long as they remained symptom-free.
By October 11 the school was notified of a further two positive Covid cases, which caused the board of management to make the decision to close the class in which the cases were detected.
“It was only on Tuesday 12th that the HSE recognised that the entire class were close contacts and sent all children for testing,” the letter read.
Meanwhile, siblings of those in that closed class were allowed to attend school as they were merely considered “casual contacts” by the HSE.
“As the week progressed, we had 19 positive cases in the class, with some children testing positive on their second test. However, siblings were only advised to isolate once a case was found in their household,” the letter continued.
“A number of siblings have now tested positive throughout the school, and many are asymptomatic. It is now evident that many of these children were present at school during the infectious period [through no fault of parents as HSE guidance was followed].”
Principal Vicky Barrow noted, “We also had over 35% of children absent on Friday of last week, many parents citing illness as the reason. We have also been sending children home daily with symptoms of Covid-19.”
“As it stands, this evening we have over 30 cases of Covid-19 in our school and expect to hear more in the coming days.
Despite the school having been “cleaned and fogged” each day, Ms Barrow says that she has been told by the HSE that “there is little protection against the Delta airborne virus.”
Concluding her letter which was sent out to parents at 6pm on Sunday evening, Ms Barrow said, “It is very clear that there are serious flaws in the HSE guidance in schools and the board of management has decided, in the best interests for the health and safety of all our pupils and their families, to implement these emergency measures.”