Minister Foley issues warning to parents over new mask mandate
Pupils from third class up must wear a mask in school.
Minister for Education Norma Foley has issued a warning to parents as the mask mandate comes into effect in schools.
Speaking to Newstalk, Minister Foley confirmed that children will have to go home if they don't wear a mask.
She stated, "It is for the benefit of all children in our schools from 3rd class up."
Minister Foley said there has been an "extraordinary buy-in from students in our schools" as regards all of the health measures.
She stressed that the education sector has followed public health advice.
Foley told the radio station that "students who do not comply will be asked to stand down from school."
"I recognise that there may well be issues of exception, where there may be difficult for a child in terms of wearing a mask.
"A child with complex needs - for example - or if a child has any difficulty with breathing or other relevant medical conditions, there will be exemptions and they will be very clear exemptions in that respect.
"There has to be absolute clarity as to how the school operates." Minister Foley stressed that mask-wearing is a "requirement and a recommendation from public health".
The mask mandate is "for the benefit and protection of children."
"But I also want to say that this operates at second level, it has operated seamlessly at second level."
The mask mandate will remain until February.
Children aged 9 and above will be asked to wear masks on public transport, in school, and in shops.
Children should also wear them in all other settings that already require adults to wear masks.
The masks are there to protect pupils, teachers, and their families and to help limit the spread of Covid-19.
Experts have reassured parents that the masks are completely safe. They've quashed any myths that masks have an effect on oxygen intake and lung development.