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18th May 2021

Cork school may need to close due to “serious” Covid outbreak

Jade Hayden

cork school

The school said the Covid situation had “deteriorated significantly.”

A Co. Cork school may need to close due to a “serious” outbreak of Covid-19.

Scoil Bhríde in Rathcormac sent a letter to parents over the weekend, warning that the school may need to close due to the ongoing situation, which they say has “deteriorated significantly.”

The Irish Examiner reports that the letter told parents: “We now have cases at every class level and among school staff. We have yet to be notified of the results from many of the Covid-19 tests that were administered over the last few days.”

School principal Margaret Howard said that the school had asked officials whether they should close now, but “public health did not deem it necessary at this time.”

She added that the recently cyberattack on the HSE has led to a delay in determining how many Covid cases are involved in the outbreak.

“Therefore, we still do no have a full picture of how many Covid cases we have in total,” she said. “This impacts on contact tracing and further exacerbates an already slow process.

“Late this evening the HSE informed us that they are not in a position to contact all close contacts of cases since Friday due to the IT difficulties.”

In a follow up letter shared on Monday, Howard said: “While the school will remain open to receive all other pupils, we do understand that some families may decide to keep children at home from school due to the current situation.

“We appeal to parents again to be extremely vigilant for suspected Covid symptoms and to contact their GP for further guidance. We will also continue to update you with information as it becomes available to us from Public Health.”

Hundreds of parents have reportedly kept their children home from school this week.

This outbreak comes as all non-essential retail reopens after over four months of closures. May 17 saw retailers across the country open their doors for the first time since December, following a week of click and collect and shopping by appointment services.

Next month will see the reopening of hotels and guesthouses, as well as the return of outdoor dining and wet pubs.