Hundreds of parents have kept their children at home following a spike in Covid-19 cases in schools in north Cork which has also led to the withdrawal of outdoor sporting activities.
A serious outbreak of the virus has been detected at Scoil Bhríde in Rathcormac, with the Board of Management confirming that seven classes are affected — four entire classes are restricting movements while pods of children in another three classes are also isolating.
An initial letter to parents had warned that the deteriorating situation meant the school could be forced to close at some point, but a large number of parents have already decided to keep children at home.
In nearby Fermoy, Covid outbreaks have also been reported in the town's three secondary schools.
The cyberattack on the HSE computer system has hampered the ability to know the exact number of cases in each school and to conduct proper contact tracing.
In a follow-up letter on Monday night, Scoil Bhríde principal Margaret Howard said the situation is constantly evolving but the school is officially open.
"An unprecedented cyberattack on the HSE IT system has exacerbated the process," she said.
"While the school will remain open to receive all other pupils, we do understand that some families may decide to keep children at home from school due to the current situation.
"We appeal to parents again to be extremely vigilant for suspected Covid symptoms and to contact their GP for further guidance. We will also continue to update you with information as it becomes available to us from Public Health.
"The Board of Management will provide daily updates of the school situation to parents and will meet again on Friday to review. Today we have been made aware of one additional positive Covid case in our school."
Bride Rovers GAA club in Rathcormac has suspended all activities until further notice.
Grange Athletics Club in the Fermoy area has suspended training for juveniles while the GAA clubs in Watergrasshill and Glenville have also curtailed activities as a precaution.
Noel McCarthy, a Fine Gael councillor in Fermoy, has called for additional steps to be taken to prevent the virus from spreading.
“I do think there should be serial testing, and maybe someone from the HSE should call to the schools and let them know - both parents and pupils - how they can be seen,” he said.