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26/10/2021

Rules for Covid-19 outbreaks in schools to be eased

classroom

Covid-19 pandemic saw classrooms empty in 2020 and 2021 now the rules are set to be relaxed significantly

Covid-19 testing is set to be scaled back and other rules eased in the management of virus outbreaks in schools.

Due to be implemented on September 27th, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, has approved the new recommendations, which will include changes to contact tracing and testing for childcare and primary schools. 

The full list of updates: 

- Automatic contact tracing of close contacts in childcare facilities and primary education will be discontinued (not including special education facilities) 
- Testing of asymptomatic close contacts in childcare facilities and primary education will be discontinued (not including special education facilities) 
- Children aged 12 years 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 
- Children aged 12 years or under who are identified as household close contacts in household settings will still be required to restrict movements and get tested, regardless of symptomatic status 
- Public health advice remains that any child aged 12 years or under who displays symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should rapidly self-isolate and not attend school or to socialise until 48 hours after they are symptom free 

The Minister for Health stated that schools are "low risk" despite major outbreaks over the past week. 

The majority of outbreaks since September 13th 2021 took place in primary schools, according the latest report from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC). 

In a statement, the minister said, "Throughout the pandemic, we have done our utmost to protect our school communities from the serious risks posed by COVID-19. The latest data indicates that schools continue to be a low-risk environment for transmission of COVID-19." 

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