Lochside Garage

Children going to school with Covid symptoms – claim

FERMANAGH schoolchildren are being “almost encouraged” to go into school even when they have possible Covid symptoms, it has been claimed.
This is due to the fact local schools have been given little official guidelines on how to operate during the pandemic, according to local Cllr Donal O’Cofaigh who said “at the moment there is no comprehensive or over arching policy guidelines in relation to schools.”
Speaking at the October meeting of the Council, Cllr O’Cofaigh, pictured right, said: “It’s meaning that some schools are dealing with this in entirely different ways than others. This is resulting in severe anxiety and fears around infections and so on.
“I’m aware of a school in our Council area where there are children fearful of going to school as a result of children being almost encouraged to go in with symptoms. This is happening in this Council area at this moment.”
Cllr O’Cofaigh proposed the Council write to Education Minister Peter Weir asking him to issue comprehensive guidance to schools on how to handle Covid-19 infections.
Cllr Emmet McAleer said he had heard of pupils being asked to go into school when they were after being in contact with a confirmed case before their isolation period had ended. In one case, he said he was aware of a child being asked to return to school after one day isolating. He added similar things were happening with working adults.
Cllr Adam Gannon, who is a teacher, agreed that the guidance so far issued to schools, which returned fully in September, had been “fuzzy.”
“They have lots of words but very little direct guidance for schools at the minute,” he said. “Lots of ‘coulds’ rather than what should be done.”
Encouraging everyone to play their part by keeping to proper hygiene and social distancing measures, Cllr Bernice Swift said the claims made in the Council were very “concerning.”
“That presents a serious risk to people who they may come in contact with who are possibly and most likely vulnerable,” she said.
The Council agreed to write to Minister Weir on the matter.

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