Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Ceisteanna (803)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

803. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education the reason her Department has issued advice to primary school principals instructing them that if a child must isolate on grounds of the Covid-19 emergency period public health advice and is continuing to do their school work at home, that they would no longer be marked present on the school’s roll book, but instead should be marked absent and that a note will be taken of the reason for the child’s absence; if her attention has been drawn to concerns raised by some parents that the recording of such absences on their child’s record may cause them to be automatically flagged with child protection services through no fault of their own; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33408/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Pupils who are medically certified as being at very high risk from COVID-19 and who are engaging with learning through adapted education provision should be marked as present in school attendance records. If pupils disengage from adapted education provision for medical or other reasons they should be marked absent for the period of disengagement.

COVID-19 related absences arising from pupils who have been requested to self-isolate by a medical professional or for pupils who feel unwell with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 must be recorded in accordance with the school’s procedures for the notification and recording of absences. These COVID-19 related absences should be noted by the school as explained absences.

In relation to explained absences and in line with the procedures for referrals from schools to the EWS, schools are advised to use their discretion in determining whether a pupil’s attendance warrants a referral to EWS. A pupil’s absence may be satisfactorily explained by certified illness, bereavement or other valid reasons such as those related to COVID-19.

In the event of a referral to Tusla Education Support Services (TESS), TESS will take into account the requirement for pupils/students who feel unwell with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or who have been informed to self-isolate and not to attend school. The same will apply for pupils/students who may be absent from school due to other genuine illnesses unrelated to COVID-19.