DES has released guidelines in relatiom to the potential case of Covid-19 in an school
It is inevitable that with confirmed cases of Covid-19 circulating within the community, there will be suspect or confirmed cases amongst pupils and staff attending, or working within, the school.
However, children will also continue to display symptoms of many other circulating respiratory viruses. It is known that young children often have a persistent cold.
Children with a blocked or runny nose, but no fever can attend school or childcare, but if they require paracetamol or ibuprofen for their symptoms, they must not attend school for 48 hours and GP assessment for testing is indicated.
If a child develops a fever and symptoms such as outlined in HPSC guidance whilst in school:
- They should be immediately isolated in a pre-identified place within school, with good ventilation and preferable an outside window opened.
- The school should contact their parent or guardian and ask them to collect their child as soon as possible.
- The child should be cared for appropriately by a staff member whilst they are waiting to go home.
- The staff member should wear a mask. Use of gloves is not essential, but staff members may wish to use them. If a staff member has helped someone with symptoms, it is essential they avoid touching their nose, mouth or eyes whilst caring for them, and undertake hand hygiene.
- If any child presents extremely unwell, from whatever potential cause, 112 and an ambulance should be called. NB we do not expect this to happen in relation to Covid-19.
- After the isolation space in vacated, it should be cleaned and contact surfaces disinfected.
- The staff member assisting with the child does not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves, or are later advised to by public health.
Schools do not need to inform parents that a pupil or teacher has been removed due to their symptoms. Other pupils or staff do not need to be removed from class. HSE Departments of Public Health will take action if the person has confirmed Covid-19 infection on testing, which will include HSE advice and guidance on communication to school pupils and staff where needed.
The parents / legal guardian of the sick child should contact their GP as usual, to discuss clinical concerns. If it is determined by the GP that the child/pupil requires to be tested for Covid-19, any other household contacts should be removed from the school setting.
It is vital that schools have current lists of staff and pupils, by classes with contact telephone numbers for parents and guardians. These should be in excel and ready to share with Department of Public Health, if required and requested under Infectious Diseases legislation, 1981, as amended.