A new system of antigen testing for asymptomatic close contacts of Covid-19 has begun in primary schools.
Under the system, antigen tests will be made available to primary school children when a child in their ‘pod’ has a positive PCR test for the virus.
Antigen testing will be offered to a full class when two or more confirmed cases of Covid-19 occur in the class within a seven-day period and outside of a single pod.
The children in the pod of a child with a positive test for Covid-19 can continue to go to school, as long as they remain asymptomatic and their antigen test results do not detect the virus.
If an antigen test is positive, the child must isolate at home, and parents and guardians must request a PCR test from the HSE.
If a child develops symptoms of Covid-19 at any time, regardless of if their antigen test result is negative, they should isolate at home and a parent or guardian should book a PCR test for them.
Under the new system, antigen tests will be sent to the parents or guardians of children who are asymptomatic close contacts by the HSE.
Parents are asked to carry out the antigen test on their child the day that they receive their delivery, and every second day until three tests have been completed.
It is not mandatory for children to take part in antigen testing, and children who are in a pod where a child has tested positive for Covid-19 can continue to attend school, whether they participate in antigen testing or not, provided that they are not experiencing symptoms of Covid-19.