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‘Mixed messaging’ on which respiratory symptoms ‘safe’ in creches

Childcare providers have said they need more clarity on which symptoms in children are safe at creches and which mean a child should be sent home in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Though the National Public Health Emergency Team said a runny nose was acceptable last week, Children’s Minister Roderic O'Gorman has said any child with a “mild respiratory infection” should not attend a creche.

The Federation of Early Childhood Providers said the ‘mixed messaging’ has caused more confusion among parents.

The Federation’s chair Elaine Dunne said clarity is needed: “Obviously if they have a temperature they can’t come in, but we’re just getting mixed messages from everybody.

We don’t know whether we’re coming or going and a lot of providers are now getting phone calls from parents looking for clarity that we don’t have.

“We don’t know whether we’re coming or going and a lot of providers are now getting phone calls from parents looking for clarity that we don’t have.”

Ms Dunne said childcare providers do not want to needlessly send children home but also want to follow public health guidance: “This time of year is the worst time of year for the dirty noses and this is every year.

“So if we were to start sending children home we’d be sending home an awful lot of children. So we just need clarity on what we’ve to send a child home for, what is acceptable.”