Pregnant teachers and SNAs will continue to work from home for rest of school term
As we look forward to more easing of restrictions this month and Ireland's vaccine program picks up steam, the Department of Education has confirmed that pregnant teachers and special needs assistants (SNAs) will not have to return to the classroom for the rest of the term.
After schools across the country re-opened for in-person classes in the weeks before and after Easter, pregnant teachers and SNAs were told to continue working from home because of concerns over links between Covid-19 and stillbirth.
Last month, the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland (RCPI) reported six cases of stillbirth and one case of second-trimester miscarriage caused by Covid placentitis since January.
Overall there have been 11 cases of Covid placentitis - a coronavirus-related infection of the placenta - in Ireland since the pandemic began, and the RCPI said the increased incidence in 2021 is likely attributable to the UK variant of the virus, B117, which was identified here in Ireland back in December of last year.
And now, with just weeks to go before the end of the current school year, the Department of Education has decided to extend the work-from-home arrangement for pregnant teachers and special needs assistants until the end of the term.
Official and updated formal health guidance for pregnant women is currently awaited, but the Department of Education has moved ahead of that, which will no doubt come as a relief to many pregnant women and their families at this time.