Schools in Donegal have been forced to halt classes and send pupils home due to Covid-19 outbreaks in local communities.
Community cases have increased again in Donegal, with 67 new cases reported to NPHET on Sunday. This is the highest increase recorded in Donegal in two months since the third wave in mid-January.
The increase in local cases has spilled into several schools across the county.
Parents of children in schools in areas such as South Inishowen, Letterkenny, Ballybofey, Carrigart and Downings have received notifications of cases in classrooms. Some post-primary class groups in the county have reportedly returned to online learning due to positive cases and low attendance.
All primary school pupils are back in class this month, while post-primary schools have fifth and sixth years only.
The HSE confirmed to Donegal Daily last week that “Donegal outbreaks of Covid-19 have originated in the community and have included cases among school age children.
“As before Christmas Public Health are getting high levels of cooperation from Schools /Teachers /Parents and all concerned.”
When a case is confirmed in a school, the HSE carries out a risk assessment and notifies close contacts. Action, if required, is then advised by the HSE.
The HSE carried out 1,842 Covid-19 tests in Irish schools between 7th and 13th March. Tests from 108 schools returned a positivity rate of 2.4%, representing 44 detected cases (33 cases were among primary school pupils and 6 in post-primary schools).
Data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre in the same week found that 888 of Covid-19 cases in Ireland were diagnosed in children under 18.
The Minister for Education Norma Foley remains optimistic about having all years back by 12th April following the Easter holidays.