Dáil debates

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation


12:50 pm

Photo of Emer HigginsEmer Higgins (Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

Ten thousand children are home from school today, having been deemed close contacts. This stop-start approach to education is not working for children or schools. I will provide three examples. I have a constituent who was working from home until recently but who was refused that option when her son was deemed a close contact. Instead, she had to take annual leave to stay at home with her child, who received a negative test. I have another constituent whose daughter tested positive for Covid in February and is out of school today because her classmate tested positive.

In one school in my constituency, there were five positive cases spread across four classrooms, with siblings in additional classrooms, thus completely maximising the disruption. I understand we need protocols in place for schools and that children and their safety needs to be put to the fore, but the requirement on a student to restrict his or her movement for ten days and to then test negative before returning to the classroom only to be told again that he or she is a close contact and, thus, has to go through that cycle again causes too much disruption. Can we expect a change in these regulations?


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