28 May 2022

Covid-19 case confirmed at Laois secondary school

Laois Offaly Education and Training Board outlines response measures taken in a statement

coronavirus covid-19

Dunamase College

The Laois and Offaly Education and Training Board (LOETB) has confirmed that it has received notification that there has been a confirmed case of Covid-19 associated with Dunamase College in Portlaoise. 

In a statement, the board said all necessary hygiene, health and safety protocols are in place at the school for the prevention and containment of the virus, which is a community based public health issue. It said all relevant close contacts in the school have been identified, contacted, and advised of next steps.  

It said the school is continuing to operate adding that in line with the Return to School protocols, close contacts have been requested to stay at home where remote lessons and support will continue to be provided using online systems. 

Linda Tynan, Director of Schools said that LOETB is working closely with the Principal and school management to provide every possible support and assistance.

"We express our strong appreciation for the commitment and dedication of teachers, parents, pupils and school communities and particularly the work of the school in its implementation of both the Return to School framework and its Covid response plan, which were essential in ensuring a fast contact tracing process for the HSE," she said. 

Principal Aoife Elster said that the continuing priority is to support both the wellbeing of the school community and to ensure the continuity of teaching and learning for the pupils and teachers of the school. 

"The use of IT devices to support teaching and learning at the school means that education will continue for all our students whether in school or at home," she said. 

The statement added that over the past number of months, LOETB has established in-depth protocols and procedures for all of our secondary schools and Further Education and Training Centres. It said these protocols anticipated the possibility of cases arising in its education facilities and, as such, there is a high state of preparedness among our school communities where prescribed plans and protocols have been implemented and followed in full.  

Due to confidentiality reasons, the LOETB could not say if the case was confirmed in the student or teacher population.

Dunamase College or Coláiste Dhún Másc is a multidenominational, co-educational school located in the old vocational school on Railway Street in Portlaoise town centre. The school opened in 2017 in response to a need for more school places and demand for diversity in education in Portlaoise.

It provides education in Irish and English. Management hope to move to a new school building which will have a capacity for 1,000 pupils. There were 184 students enrolled during the 2019/20 school year.

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