Search icon


14th Apr 2022

“I got a letter and it was very distressing”: Parents speak out against Tusla absence reports

Kat O'Connor

“They can’t go to school with a sniffle.”

A lot of children are missing more school than usual because of the current Covid guidelines.

Many of us are still suffering from Covid, which means a lot of our families are too.

These absences are part of our daily lives now, especially after the most recent wave where it felt like everyone we knew was infected with Covid.

However, is it right to include these school absences in reports to Tusla?

According to The Journal, more and more parents are feeling stressed about Tusla’s absence reports.

A lot of children have to isolate themselves when their parents are ill with Covid, but some parents believe adding these sick days to reports is unfair.

HerFamily readers spoke out about the current situation.

One mum believes it is wrong to add Covid absences to Tusla reports and they should be separated from general school absences.

According to Tusla, schools are required to submit Student Absence Reports twice a year.

Schools need to report pupils with major attendance issues that have been identified during the current academic year i.e.

Students who have missed over 20 days or more have to be reported.

Their absence must be classed under the below categories:

Urgent Family Reason

Parents have been advised not to worry if their child’s absence is due to Covid. The likelihood of these reports being an issue is rare.

However, HerFamily readers are still concerned.

One mum asked what are parents supposed to do when there are Covid outbreaks in school. Many classrooms have been forced to close down until they’re given the all-clear.

Another said, “The parents’ hands are tied. They’re only doing the right thing by following HSE guidance. It’s unfair on both the pupils and parents.”

“I got a letter and it was very distressing.”

“This only adds more stress to already stressed parents,” another said.

“It’s definitely wrong. They can’t go to school with a sniffle so it’s not fair at all to report any absences related to Covid.”

One mum said she was worried because her 5-year-old child missed a lot of school due to Covid and other illnesses.

“It is so stressful getting a message saying your child has missed X amount of days.”

“I got a letter and it was very distressing. It puts people off taking children with symptoms out of school,” another mum admitted.

However, one teacher said that they’re only following the advice. It is their job to report absences.

What do you think? Should Covid absences be included in Tusla reports?