A school at the centre of a Covid-19 outbreak says it may have to close over the coming days because the cyberattack on the HSE has hampered contact tracing.
In a message to parents on Sunday night, the principal and chairperson of the board of management of Scoil Bhríde in Rathcormac, Cork, said they may have to advise parents not to send their children to school over the coming days following a significant deterioration in the Covid situation at the school.
It is understood that pupils from a number of classes were told last week to stay at home and isolate for 14-days following confirmed cases in their classes.
Parents were told on Sunday night that there are confirmed cases "at every class level and among school staff".
This morning, the majority chose not to send their children to the school.
“Despite the best efforts of children, parents, and staff, we find ourselves amidst a serious outbreak,” they said.
“We have yet to be notified of the results from many of the Covid-19 tests that were administered over the last few days.
“Therefore, we still do not have a full picture of how many Covid cases we have in total.
“This impacts upon contact tracing and further exacerbates an already slow process.”
Parents were told that with the increasing number of confirmed Covid cases in the school, advice was sought on whether to close but public health officials did not deem it necessary at the moment.
However, parents were told on Sunday evening, the HSE said it has not been able to contact all close contacts of confirmed cases at to the school since Friday because of the shutdown of the HSE's IT system in the wake of the cyber attack.
“As a result, for health and safety reasons, the board of management of Scoil Bhríde may have to take the decision in the coming days to advise parents not to send their children to school,” parents were told.
The school said it is working tirelessly to engage with public health authorities and will monitor the situation closely over the coming days.
And it said that it is important to note that the response to confirmed cases or outbreaks of Covid-19 in the community or in a school is the responsibility of, and will be led and managed by public health doctors.
The school plans to provide online learning activities for all classes from Monday for children who remain at home.
“We acknowledge the toll that all this is taking on you. This is a frustrating and anxious time for the whole school community. All decisions being made by the Board of Management are with the wellbeing and safety of students, staff and families in mind. We thank you for your understanding and continued support,” the school said.
Meanwhile, the local GAA club, Bride Rovers Juvenile and Ladies clubs has extended its suspension of all GAA activities for all under 13 age groups, until Thursday at least.
The club said all activity for other age groups may go ahead but asked that anyone with a connection to the primary school to stay away.