I propose to take Questions Nos. 413 and 468 together.
My Department has always been guided by public health advice in relation to the infection prevention and control measure appropriate for schools. While current public health advice makes it a requirement for face coverings to be worn by teachers, staff in schools and students attending post primary school, it is not a requirement for children attending primary school to wear face-coverings.
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) keep infection prevention and control measures under review in all sectors. It has been confirmed that the wearing of masks by primary school students is not being recommended at this time
Public Health has consistently advised that schools are safe places for both students and staff because of the mitigation measures in place in our schools. Public Health have also stated that the new variants of the disease do not change the infection prevention and control measures required in schools. Schools have been supported by a funding package of almost €650m to put in place and maintain these key infection control measures. Public Health advice is that compliance with these measures ensure that schools remain safe places for children and staff.