September 8, 2020
Clarity needed on Covid-related school absenteeism – Kathleen Funchion TD

Sinn Fein spokesperson for Children, Kathleen Funchion TD, has called on Minister O’Gorman and Túsla to use a common-sense approach in the application of the 20-day student absenteeism rule during the public health emergency. 

Teachta Funchion said: 

“Today I will ask the Minister to clarify whether or not children who must take days off school due to Covid or potential Covid related illness, will have those days count towards the 20 days requirement for Túsla to be notified.

“Government guidance states that students who have symptoms of Covid including fever, new cough, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties, or loss or change to their sense of smell or taste, should not attend school. 

“Clearly the school absenteeism rules aren’t intended to create difficulties for parents, who are simply trying to apply the public health advice. The rules should not be applied in those circumstances.

“I strongly believe that the return to school has been stressful enough without the added worry for parents that Túsla could be calling asking for an explanation as to their child’s absence from school. Parents and schools need clarity on this issue.  

“It is important that we ensure that children are not lost to the system or become disengaged by falling through the cracks. But it is also important that those who have genuine medical concerns are listened to and their circumstances are taken into account.

“I hope the Minister makes a clear statement on this today and makes sure that this approach is not applied to those who must be absent due Covid-related illnesses or isolation.”

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