Calls for schools to close early in Seanad as Covid "running riot" 5 months ago

Calls for schools to close early in Seanad as Covid "running riot"

"Our primary schools are probably the one place where we have the most unvaccinated people, young people in particular, gathering at any one time."

The Seanad has heard calls for schools to close early as a measure to help curb the spread of Covid-19.

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As reported in the Irish Examiner, Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer told the Seanad today that the virus is "running riot in our primary schools", and called for them to close early.

Mr Buttimer said: "Whether it's through close contacts or actual physical cases, absenteeism in primary schools is at an all-time high."

He went on: "We all know there will be intergenerational mixing over Christmas and to stop and to limit the spread of Covid, I'm asking the minister to close up primary schools on Friday to allow for a planned reopening in January, [and] to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

"Our primary schools are probably the one place where we have the most unvaccinated people, young people in particular, gathering at any one time.

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"They are wearing masks, but I would ask, and I really am appealing to the Minister of Education to close up primary schools on Friday as a public health measure to support the good work being done by Government and the HSE."

The Department of Education, however, has said that it does not plan on closing schools early before the Christmas holidays.

A spokesperson for the Department said: "There is no evidence to suggest that extending school holidays has a public health rationale."

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Yesterday, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin refused to rule out implementing further restrictions before Christmas.

Speaking on the Six One News, Mr Martin said: "I can’t rule anything out and we need good discussions but what I’m heartened by is over the last two months people have responded to public health messaging, they’re changing their behaviour.

"A week is a long time in Covid, I’ve learned that much over the last while, so what I would say to people is, we all need to hold the collective nerve here. We’ve been through different waves of the pandemic, we’ll get over this wave as well.

"This is a very transmissible variant though, that spreads very fast and that is a real threat to us and we need to be conscious of that and it’s all about working connectively, using common sense in terms of our personal behaviour and people are already doing that."

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Facebook image of Norma Foley: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie