GAELSCOIL Uí Drisceoil in Glanmire is calling for schools to be made aware of positive Covid-19 cases immediately following the “catastrophic” community impact of 17 confirmed cases at the school.
The school has been temporarily closed as a result of a large outbreak of which saw 17 pupils test positive for Covid-19.
However, the positive cases have spread beyond the school walls, with a total of 47 cases including parents and household members of pupils, according to the school Principal.
“There was 17 initially and it went up to 27 in total,” said Principal Siobhán Ní Chatháin, of the cases within the school community.
“27 is the overall total, with an additional 20 parents – not just parents – parent plus older and younger siblings who are not in the school, so 20 additional family members of the children who were affected and staff members.”
In a petition, parents at Gaelscoil Uí Drisceoil have outlined four issues with the current procedure for cases in schools, such as how a principal can only be informed about a confirmed case in a pupil with the consent of a parent or guardian.
According to the petition, this means that it is possible for public health lines to be disregarded and for a positive case to continue attending school unbeknownst to pupils or staff.
In addition, parents have said that once the principal is informed of a case, there is a “time lag” and they cannot immediately inform other parents.
Chairperson of the Parent’s Association, Fiona UÍ Bhuachalla said that the current procedure as “not robust enough” and has had a “catastrophic impact” on the community.
“What we’re calling on is that those procedural gaps which relate to the requirement of the HSE to share information with the principal regardless of if a parent gives consent or not.
“The information must be given in the vital interest of the health of the school and the wider community.” The parents and principal at Gaelscoil Uí Drisceoil are now calling for the immediate dissemination of information to schools when a pupil tests positive for Covid-19 to help control and reduce the risk of any future outbreaks.
“Micheál Martin said in his address to the nation last week, every contact counts. The HSE need to take that on board. There needs to be a transparent sharing of information between the HSE and the school,” said Principal Ní Chatháin.
“There’s nothing stopping the HSE from changing this to make schools safe.”