A CORK primary school principal has described as “frightening” the proposed changes to contact tracing arrangements in primary schools, which are due to be introduced next Monday, September 27.
Following advice from chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan, automatic contact tracing of close contacts in childcare facilities and primary education (not including special education facilities) will be discontinued from Monday.
Children aged 12 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.
Testing of asymptomatic children in childcare facilities and primary education will be discontinued. This does not include special education facilities.
Scoil Padre Pio principal Ken Foley said yesterday’s announcement came as a shock.
“This announcement is frightening,” he said. “It is a big shock, as every one of us is playing our part. We are very concerned.”
Dr Holohan said yesterday: “Given the importance of education for our children, we feel that now is the right time to evolve our approach to the public health management of Covid-19 in educational settings.
“We have been closely monitoring the incidence of Covid-19 and we are reassured that the reopening of schools has not led to an increase in transmission of Covid-19 amongst school-going children or more widely across the population.” he said.
The proposed changes come in the aftermath of nine confirmed outbreaks in primary schools in Cork and Kerry last week, which represent almost 50% of new outbreaks in the region during that time.
INTO calls for deferral of changes