We must 'suppress virus in our homes' to keep schools safe, officials say

We must 'suppress virus in our homes' to keep schools safe, officials say

Children should not be kept home from school unless they require paracetamol or ibuprofen, a government spokesperson has said. File Picture.

Young children with a cold do not need to be kept at home from school, unless they require paracetamol or ibuprofen, a Government spokesperson has said.

Amid the uncertainty around the return of schools during the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been confirmed that if a parent considers their child needs over-the-counter medication they must “stay at home for 48 hours and parents or guardians should phone a GP to assess whether a test is required”.

Speaking at Government Buildings this morning, assistant secretary at the Department of the Taoiseach Elizabeth Canavan said that a specific protocol is in place for a child displaying Covid symptoms while in attendance at school.

That protocol is that the school should ask for the child’s parent or guardian to pick them up as soon as possible, with the child “cared for in an isolated space” in the meantime.

Should the child be referred for a test then their siblings or household members should also be removed from school.

If the case is confirmed, the school will be subject to a public health risk assessment to inform further actions.

The further response can range in scope from exclusion and testing of a specific ‘pod’ of children, to the closure of the affected school, Ms Canavan said.

She said that “the best way to keep our children safe in schools is to follow the public health advice to suppress the virus in our homes and in our communities”.

She added that while transparency regarding cases is “important”, it is “equally important that we maintain privacy and are sensitive to the impact on individual children, families, school staff and the communities they serve”.

Meanwhile, Ms Canavan said that the number of people in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment has reduced by 5,400 week on week to 225,000 people.

The PUP peaked in its scope on 5 May, when 598,000 people received it. It is due to end in its current guise on September 17.

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