Schoolchildren on sleepovers must isolate if close contacts

HSE advises homes are much higher risk than schools for transmission of virus

School principals are being advised that they do not need to contact the HSE if they become aware of a Covid-19 case in their school in future. Photograph: iStock

School principals are being advised that they do not need to contact the HSE if they become aware of a Covid-19 case in their school in future. Photograph: iStock

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Parents have been warned that children who go on sleepovers with family or friends will have to isolate from school if a member of the household tests positive for Covid-19.

While there will be a significant easing of close contact rules for children in primary school and childcare from next Monday, this will not apply to under-13s who are identified as household contacts of confirmed Covid-19 cases.

This is on the basis that homes are considered a much higher risk than schools for transmission of the disease.

The HSE clarified that a child is a household contact if they were present overnight in the household of a positive case while the individual 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 friend,” it said.

Changes

The guidance is contained in a HSE advisory document which is being circulated to school principals and childcare managers on the close contact changes.

It also confirms that an estimated 10,000 children who are isolating after being identified as close contacts of Covid-19 cases may return to primary school next Monday without the need to be tested, as long as they are symptom free.

It follows a Government decision on Wednesday to relax test and tracing protocols for under-13s in primary schools and childcare facilities.

All infection prevention and control measures – such as pods and ventilation – should remain in place in schools.

School principals are being advised that they do not need to contact the HSE if they become aware of a Covid-19 case in their school in future.

In addition, children previously identified as close contacts of Covid-19 cases and do not have symptoms will not be routinely required to restrict their movements and undergo testing.

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