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Over 40 new Covid-19 cases in schools as teachers consider industrial action

An additional 43 cases of Covid-19 have been detected in schools, according to the Health Service Executive (HSE).

The figures come after mass testing of 2,400 students and teachers at 99 schools found these additional cases “over and above” original cases, according to the Irish Times.

There are now 142 positive cases associated with a school setting, according to the HSE.

Industrial action

It comes as the Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland (ASTI) is planning to ballot its members for industrial action amid concerns for school staff safety.

The union has raised safety concerns about physical distancing in schools, the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE), the speed at which testing is being carried out and the definition of close contacts.

ASTI Deputy General Secretary, Diarmuid DePaor, said the union is also worried about its vulnerable members: “We’re still very concerned about teachers who may be high-risk on two or three different categories who may still then end up being forced to be going into crowded classrooms, we think that’s a pretty unfair pressure.”

The central executive committee of the union said it met on Saturday and decided to ballot its members in relation to a number of “key issues” which had emerged since schools reopened.