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Primary school reverses decision to close early at Christmas amid fears about spread of coronavirus


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A primary school in county Mayo has reversed its decision to close early for Christmas amid growing concerns about the spread of coronavirus.

Claremorris Boys National School announced on Friday morning that it would shut its doors after 12 students tested positive for the virus.

Health officials did not back the move, however, and this evening it has emerged that school governance also withdrew their support.

Principal Mark Loftus said the school will now be open on Monday for those who are not isolating.

"The latest is that school governance are not supporting us to close, because public health hasn't given that advice to us.

In a letter to parents before the reversal of the decision to close Mr Loftus said the school intended to close to "support and maintain the health, safety and wellbeing of our pupils, their families, the teaching staff and their families and the wider school community".

“Despite not being able to secure the support of the Inspectorate and HSE Public Health, this is the only practical way we can help prevent further elevation and spread of Covid cases among the school community."

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He said closing was right and necessary as the number of infections in the school climb.

Closing schools conflicts with the Department of Education rules which require all state-funded schools to remain open until next Friday.

A second primary school in Laois also announced yesterday they were closing early for the Christmas holidays due to a spike in Covid-19 among students,

The Holy Family Senior School in Portlaoise will shut their doors today and will not reopen until January 6, 2021.

In stark contrast to each other, the Holy Family Senior School say they have been ordered to close by Public Health.

In a message sent to parents this afternoon, the principal of Holy Family Senior School, Roisin Brennan said:

“We have been informed by Public Health that, learning from other cases, it has been decided that the safest way to protect our whole school community is to close the school as and from this evening and reopen on January 6th as planned.

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