Transparency needed over Covid-19 cases and risk in schools, teachers say

ireland
Staff shortages were occurring with some schools missing up to 10 teachers because they were self-isolating while awaiting test results, ASTI said. Photo: PA Images.
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By Vivienne Clarke

Teachers have called for more transparency surrounding Covid-19 in schools so they know how many cases are in a school and how much risk they are at.

President of the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) Ann Piggott told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that teachers would like more confidence in the contact tracing system.

The system of tracing contacts of positive cases in schools needs to be much faster, she said. In some cases it was taking up to a week for contacts to be traced, she added.

Staff shortages were occurring with some schools missing up to 10 teachers because they were self-isolating while awaiting test results, Ms Piggott said.

Teachers are very fearful, they would like schools to be opened in a safe way.

While transmission rates from children were low - 2.4 per cent - if there were a lot of cases in the community this was “bound to be replicated” in the school and asymptomatic children could transmit the virus to teachers, she added.

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“We’ve asked for rapid testing, but it has to be safe and reliable,” Ms Piggott said. It can take two days for test results to come back and a further four days for contacts to be identified and traced, she said.

A rapid testing system could be used to identify cases for further testing suggested Ms Piggott. “Teachers are very fearful, they would like schools to be opened in a safe way.”

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