No school closures 'at this point'- Dept
The Department of Education and Skills says it is liaising closely with the Department of Health on a continuing basis, with any decision to close schools in a bid to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus to be made on public health advice.
“There is no such advice at this point,” a spokesperson told The Anglo-Celt this afternoon.
They added: “It is essential that any decisions regarding responses to Covid-19 are proportionate, necessary and based on specific public health advice. No other response is appropriate.”
The Department reiterates that public health professionals will contact schools if there is any action to be taken, and that at this stage, schools should “not take unilateral action”.
Schools, pre-schools and higher education settings have been provided with advice and guidance in respect of Covid-19. There is up to date guidance for schools and parents on https://www.education.ie/en/The-Department/Announcements/information-for-schools-preschools-and-third-level-institutions-on-the-coronavirus.html.
“The Department is deeply conscious of the significance of decisions concerning school closures, and the potential impact any such decisions would have on parents, families and the wider community.
This is an evolving situation and the health advice is being updated on a daily basis. The Departments of Education and Skills and Department of Health will continue to work closely together on this issue.”
Separately, a spokesperson for Cavan County Council has said that the local authority has a “business continuity plan” to ensure that services will remain open in the event of the outbreak spreading further.
“Cavan County Council has a business continuity plan in place which will ensure that critical services will remain open should the current public health situation escalate. Council management will continue to monitor the situation and co-ordinate with national and local stakeholders to determine the appropriate response as the situation develops.”
As of Tuesday lunchtime, there were a total of 24 confirmed cases in the Republic, not including a self-declared case of infection in neighbouring Co Meath.
More than 1,000 people have been tested for the virus in the Republic, with 222 more tested in the North for Covid-19, with 16 positive cases.