Public health officials are continuing to investigate the circumstances around a substantial outbreak of Covid-19 that has forced a primary school in Cork to close until December.
All students and staff at Gaelscoil Uí Drisceoil in Glanmire are to be tested as a precaution after 17 cases of the virus so far have been detected amongst students.
All staff and students have also been advised to restrict their movements until December 8. It is understood that the majority of children who have tested positive for Covid-19 are asymptomatic, or have very mild symptoms of the virus.
The school declined to comment when contacted by the Irish Examiner, but in a previous statement, it said it had followed HSE guidelines at all times.
It is understood that many parents had taken their children out of school as a precaution since last week when details of confirmed cases in the school community first started coming to light. The decision to close the school was taken as a "precautionary measure" while the clinical public health risk assessment continues, a spokeswoman for the HSE said.
The Department of Public Health is in close contact with the school principal to assess the situation and to provide advice and support to parents, teachers, and students, she added.
"We thank the staff, pupils and families for their co-operation with this measure, which will ensure the safety of students, staff, and the wider community."
"We'd like to reassure both the school community and the wider community that the Department of Public Health locally, supported by national colleagues, are working closely with the school to ensure the outbreak is investigated and controlled."
Local Fianna Fáil TD Pádraig O’Sullivan said there was some concern in the community regarding the outbreak.
“But in this situation, the school did what it was directed to do. They’ve compiled with HSE advice and done everything they can do, to be fair to them.”
A further 19 outbreaks linked to schools were recorded last week, according to new figures published by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC). This is almost twice as many as recorded the week before when ten outbreaks linked to schools were recorded.
More than 200 outbreaks have been linked to schools since the beginning of the school year.
The HPSC defines an outbreak as two or more cases, and it says in the case of schools transmission within the school has not necessarily been established.
In terms of schools, the HPSC says these outbreaks are associated with children and, or, school staff.