Covid Information Update for Parents 23 September 2021
Important Update from the HSE regarding Covid testing in primary school children
In line with recommendations from the National Public Health Emergency Team, from September 27th 2021, automatic contact tracing of asymptomatic close contacts in primary school pupils is no longer recommended.
Pupils who are identified as a close contact in school and, who are asymptomatic, will no longer be routinely required to restrict their movements.
Automatic COVID 19 testing of asymptomatic close contacts in schools will no longer take place; instead, testing will focus on clinically relevant symptomatic disease.
Pupils identified as household close contacts and are not fully vaccinated or have had a confirmed Covid-19 diagnosis in the last 9 months (even they have no symptoms) will still need to restrict their movements and get a COVID 19 test. A child is a household contact if they were present overnight, in the household of a COVID 19 case while the case was infectious. This may be in their own home or someone else’s home for example children who may have been on sleepovers with family or friends.
Public Health advice remains the same: any pupil with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should immediately self-isolate, should not attend school or socialise and follow current public health advice. Please see here for further information.
Any child who was previously identified as a close contact of a case from outside of the house or special educational needs/respite care setting and is currently out restricting their movements can return to school provided they have no symptoms of Covid-19 from Monday 27th September. They do not need to present for COVID 19 testing before returning. Children identified as close contacts through a household case of infection for example a parent who has COVID 19, must remain restricting their movements.
Since the start of the COVID 19 pandemic, we have learned that1:
- Children seem more likely than adults to have no symptoms or to have mild disease. Please see here for information on symptoms
- That child to child transmission in schools is uncommon and not the primary cause of Sars-CoV-2 infection in children
- Children are rarely identified as the route of transmission of infection into the household setting
- Children are not more likely than adults to spread the infection to others