Written answers

Thursday, 6 May 2021

Department of Education and Skills

Covid-19 Pandemic

Photo of Gary GannonGary Gannon (Dublin Central, Social Democrats)
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113. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the rationale for her Department not including students under the applied education programme who are living with very high risk family members; if her attention has been drawn to an article (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23604/21]

Photo of Norma FoleyNorma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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The Government has always been guided by public health advice in relation to what is safe in schools. The CMO has made it very clear in his advices to Government which are published on gov.ie, that schools are safe environments, with very little evidence of transmission within schools, and that the majority of infections of children and adolescents occurs outside the school setting.

Schools have put significant infection prevention control measures in place to reduce the risk of coronavirus being transmitted to/within the school and funding of almost €650 million has been put in place by my Department to fund COVID-19 related measures, including funding for PPE, sanitation and additional cleaning etc.

The HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has issued specific advice about children attending school in the context of COVID-19. This advice covers both children with underlying medical conditions and children living with family members with underlying conditions. For all children, care should continue to be taken to reduce transmission through the infection control measures promoted by HPSC.

The HPSC advice advises that children with immediate family members, including parents, in both the ‘high risk’ and ‘very high risk’ categories can return to school and it is important for the child’s overall well-being. This is consistent with public health advice internationally in relation to at-risk family members. The priority is that the household continues to follow all current advice on how to minimise the risk of coronavirus, through regular hand washing, etc.


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