Mask rule for primary schools is being revised by Government as a third of tests are children 1 month ago

Mask rule for primary schools is being revised by Government as a third of tests are children

The controversial rule came in last week.

The Department of Education has revised the new and controversial rule introduced for primary schools last week, asking older students above third class to wear masks.

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The rule directed that any pupil without a medical reason who refused to wear a mask would be declined entry into the school, causing much controversy among parents.

Schools have been told this morning by the department that "it is not intended that any child will be excluded from a school in the first instance."

Parents across the country were not impressed last week when a memo was sent late on Tuesday, ordering those who refused to wear a mask entry into schools.

Initially being told that the rule would apply from Wednesday morning, the Government later said the rule would be "flexible" for the first few days.

Many schools said that they would not abide by this and saw it as highly inflammatory to refuse children entry into schools due to this.

A spokesperson for the department said to RTE that while the decision hasn't been rescinded, the updated document given to schools today does not mention it.

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The document states that when a child comes to school without a face mask "schools will engage pragmatically and sensitively with parents" and if that fails, the department will step in.

It says "every effort should be made to clearly communicate the public health reasons behind the wearing of a face mask" and that "a solution focused engagement between the school and the child's parents or guardians should take place with a view to resolving issues".

It added that "the department will engage with schools to offer guidance and support to reassure parents", and that "where significant issues have not been resolved" contact will be made with the department for an inspector to get involved.

The document also stated that no medical proof is needed for certain children if the school is already aware of any medical conditions that require children not to wear a mask.

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The other circumstances that masks aren't needed are outdoors, during PE and while eating or drinking.

This new rule comes as the Irish Independent reports that more than a third of people attending the Covid-19 test centres are children.

According to new data, between November 26 and December 2, 37% of those at the HSE test centres were under the age of 14, with the next highest group being between 35 and 44, making up 18% of people.