Kerry secondary school reopens after department order

Several students do not attend following initial decision to close over Covid-19 fears

 

Tarbert Comprehensive School, which was closed by its school principal on Tuesday over fears about rising Covid-19 cases, reopened on Wednesday, following an order from the Department of Education.

However, a number of students at the 520-strong mixed school did not attend, it is understood, though the school is being cleaned and disinfected on a daily basis in line with HSE guidelines.

“We are in consultation with the HSE and are following HSE protocols and the public health guidelines that have been provided to us. All necessary precautions have been taken to prevent any further exposure to staff or students,” principal Richard Prendiville said.

“The HSE is responsible for testing and contact tracing and we are co-operating with them to ensure all information is provided and they can evaluate any further steps that may need to be taken.

“Our primary focus, at this time, is to support the work of the HSE and to support the recovery of those affected while continuing to prioritise the safety, health and wellbeing of students, staff and teachers,” he said.

Drawing its pupils from west Limerick and the Shannon Estuary area, the school has seen seven students test positive for Covid-19 in the last seven days and a further 45 have been told they are close contacts.

Parent Brian Finucane from Ballylongford, whose son is in fifth year at the school, supported the first decision by the principal to close the school, even though that was subsequently overturned by the Department of Education.

“Who else would know what is going on, on the ground in the local community of north Kerry and west Limerick?” Mr Finucane asked, adding that the board of management had supported the principal’s decision.