About 200 secondary school students and teaching staff in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, are being screened for Covid-19 following an outbreak of the virus.
The HSE is engaging with two schools in the town where positive cases of the virus have been detected.
Sixth-year students at St Joseph’s CBS - a 570 pupil school - have been classified as close contacts and asked to self-isolate following “a number” of positive cases, according to a letter sent to parents on Wednesday. All these students are being tested for the virus.
In addition, fifth-year students have been advised to remain at home until further notice. They will be tested as part of a HSE screening process.
All staff at the school have also been tested in recent days and a number of positive cases were detected.
“We continue to work very closely with public health and the HSE on all matters in what is a very trying times for the whole school community,” a school letter to parents states. “I can fully understand and appreciate the anxiety and worry that you may be dealing with within your own families at this time too.”
While classes for students in other year groups are continuing, the school has said it will support parents in whatever decision they make in relation to their children’s attendance.
Students who are being asked to self-isolate or who choose to stay at home will be able to access schoolwork online.
The HSE is also conducting a public health risk assessment at St Mary’s Secondary School, Nenagh.
In a statement, school principal Michael Dineen confirmed that the school has engaged with the HSE.
“As part of this risk assessment, all close contacts will be identified, contacted and advised of the next steps,” he said.
He said close contacts were requested not to come to school - which caters to 440 students - in line with HSE public health advice.
“The school will continue to work with the HSE in ensuring all necessary hygiene, health and safety protocols are in place at the school for the prevention and containment of Covid-19.”
The statement added: “The school cannot comment on individual cases or outbreaks of Covid-19 to protect the privacy and confidentially of those involved.”