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Covid-19 Pandemic

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 24 November 2021

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Ceisteanna (103, 106, 107)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

103. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education if she will provide details of the antigen testing process for junior infant, senior infant, 1st and 2nd classes that do not operate in pods. [57867/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

106. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the steps she is taking to ensure that parents of school age children receive an antigen tests as rapidly as possible in the post. [57870/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

107. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education if a process of antigen testing is being rolled out in secondary schools; if antigen testing in secondary schools has been examined; and if not, the reason therefor. [57871/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 103, 106 and 107 together.

The Department of Health and the HSE, working in collaboration with the Department of Education announced last week a programme in which antigen tests will be made available to children in primary schools.

Parents and Guardians of a primary school child, who is a confirmed case of COVID-19 following a PCR test, will be asked to inform their school’s principal. The school principal will then inform the parents of other children in the pod of a confirmed case. No personal details of the child will be shared. These parents will be provided with the option to receive free antigen tests for their child, which they will be able to order for delivery to their home. These tests can be ordered from a helpline operated by the HSE. The tests will be sent to the children’s parents by the HSE.

It is important that parents inform principals quickly if a child receives a PCR ‘detected’ test for Covid-19. By doing this, the choice to participate in antigen testing can be offered to other parents quickly. It is important that everyone continues to follow all the public health advice in using this new programme

It is not mandatory for children to participate in antigen testing. Children who are in a pod where a child has tested positive for Covid-19 can continue to attend school, whether they participate in antigen testing or not. Where two or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 occur in a class, within a seven-day period, outside of a single pod, antigen testing will be offered to the full class. Pod size can vary depending on the class size and the infrastructure.

The programme will commence on or before 29 November.

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