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Wexford primary school instructed to reopen immediately despite Covid outbreak


CBS Primary School Principal Vicky Barron

CBS Primary School Principal Vicky Barron

CBS Primary School Principal Vicky Barron

THE Board of Management of the CBS Primary School in Wexford town has been forced to reverse its decision to close the school building after an outbreak of Covid-19 there.

The board had taken the decision to close the school a week ahead of the midterm break after more than 30 cases were confirmed within the school.

The decision seemed to receive the backing of parents and the local community, however, it has now emerged that the Department of Education has instructed the school’s management that they must open this morning and restore face to face teaching.

In an email circulated to parents at 9.15 pm last night, Principal Vicky Barron stated that “despite the ongoing concerns for the safety of our pupils, the considered decisions of the Board of Management, and after lengthy communications with the Department of Education, we have now been instructed to return to face to face learning with immediate effect.

"Therefore, we have been directed to re-open the school building to pupils tomorrow, Wednesday, October 20.

"While we are delighted to welcome children back, as closing the building was a last resort for us, we ask that you do not present children who are symptomatic, close contacts, household contacts or those awaiting the results of a test.

"Children with symptoms will be sent home, even if those of a mild illness.”

Ms Barron concluded by saying: “Thank you for your continued support during these very challenging times.”

Speaking yesterday, Ms Barron told RTE’s News at One that it had been a difficult decision for the board of management to keep children away from the school grounds.

“To backtrack, we started with one case last Friday week and a second case came in on Sunday in the same room and we were informed by parents that there were positive antigen tests and these children weren’t all in the same pod so it was throughout the room so we knew that trouble was starting on Monday,” she said.

“The guidance with the HSE is that you’re not a close contact once you’re in a primary school... so all of the other children were not deemed as close contacts, so they were allowed to attend school on Monday.

"It was as more cases came into us on Monday that the board of management took the decision to close down that class and not allow them back into school, that they all had to get tested.

“On Tuesday, as more cases were coming in over the weekend in that same classroom, I queried with the HSE why they would not be deemed as close contacts considering it was very obvious at least to me that this was a school outbreak as we could have had 10 cases at that stage,” she said.

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