Wexford primary school forced to close until next month due to Covid outbreak
The closure is a “vital health and safety precaution for all.”
A primary school in Co. Wexford has been forced to close its doors until next month due to an outbreak of Covid-19.
The school, which recorded more than 30 cases, has blamed the outbreak on “serious flaws” with the HSE’s revised close contact rules, the Irish Times reports.
In a message issued to parents on Sunday evening, CBS school principal Vicky Barrow said the school’s board of management decided to shut its doors and switch to online teaching following an emergency meeting surrounding the outbreak.
The 270-student school will now remain closed until November as a “vital health and safety precaution for all.”
According to the letter, the school was first informed of a case in one of its classes just ten days ago on October 8. A second case was confirmed two days later.
The letter said that under HSE guidelines for schools, which were revised last month, children in the case's class were no longer considered close contacts and no contact tracing was carried out.
As a result, it states, “children without symptoms were allowed to attend school.”
The school was informed of two more cases by October 11, prompting the board of management to close the class.
Only on October 12 did the HSE recognise "that the entire class were close contacts and sent all children for testing,” the letter claims.
However, siblings of children in the closed class were allowed to continue attending school as they were considered "casual contacts" by the HSE.
“As the week progressed, we had 19 positive cases in the class, with some children testing positive on their second test," the letter says. “However, siblings were only advised to isolate once a case was found in their household.
“A number of siblings have now tested positive throughout the school, and many are asymptomatic. It is now evident that many of these children were present at school during the infectious period [through no fault of parents as HSE guidance was followed].
“We also had over 35 per cent of children absent on Friday of last week, many parents citing illness as the reason. We have also been sending children home daily with symptoms of Covid-19. As it stands, this evening we have over 30 cases of Covid-19 in our school and expect to hear more in the coming days.”
Though the school had "cleaned and fogged" daily, Ms Barrow said they have been told by the HSE that "there is little protection against the Delta airborne virus."
“It is very clear that there are serious flaws in the HSE guidance in schools and the board of management has decided, in the best interests for the health and safety of all our pupils and their families, to implement these emergency measures,” her letter concluded.