I propose to take Questions Nos. 457 to 459, inclusive, together.
There is ongoing consideration given by the Government to policy in relation to the management of Covid-19 in school settings.
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has published Guidance for Educational Settings relating to the management of Covid-19 in school settings. This guidance, which includes protocols relating to the management of close contacts, is available at https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/guidance/educationguidance/
The Deputy may wish to note that schools must have a Covid-19 Response Plan and a Covid policy in place. Up-to-date Government advice and resources for schools, parents and students in the context of COVID-19, including advice on Covid-19 planning is published at https://www.gov.ie/backtoschool.
Where a school is informed of a pupil or staff member who has tested positive for Covid-19, if the case was in the school during the infectious period, the HSE endeavour to contact school management the same day, although this may be the following day in some cases. When public health doctors make contact with the school, they will proceed to undertake a Public Health Risk Assessment (PHRA). Core to the PHRA will be assessing the likelihood of onward transmission from the case identified, and this will inform their further actions. The risk assessment applied in school settings may be dynamic and change as new information becomes available, and the testing strategy may evolve as information unfolds.
The Public Health advice remains that a confirmed case, anyone awaiting the result of a test and close contacts of confirmed cases, should restrict their movements and follow the advice provided by the HSE which is available at www.hse.ie. Restricting your movements means staying at home as much as possible to avoid contact with other people, avoiding social situations and staying at home or in your accommodation, as much as possible.
Should persons have concerns over a confirmed case not adhering to the Public Health advice to restrict movement, this can be reported to the relevant HSE Department of Public Health, who can take appropriate action under the provisions of the Health Act 1947, as amended. Contact details for the HSE's regional Departments of Public Health are available on the HSE website.