Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has raised concerns following reports that teachers who would be marked as close contacts by the HSE Covid Tracker app are now having that status removed by the Department of Health, and not being advised to isolate or seek testing.
Teachta Ó Laoghaire said:
“This is very concerning news. Whilst it is important that schools are open, an essential part of keeping them open is safeguarding the safety of school staff.
“Teachers are just as susceptible to Covid-19 as any other user of the Covid tracker app.
“One would question the value of the HSE tracking app in the first instance, if its advice is disregarded so bluntly. If anything, it undermines the importance of the ‘close contacts’ notification, as the Department are telling certain cohorts of the public to ignore the app’s advice.
“We need an explanation here. It cannot be that there is one rule for the general public, and another rule for teachers. Surely, a close contact is a close contact, regardless of profession. It is completely unfair to have lower standards for school staff.
“Teachers, secretaries, SNAs, caretakers and all school staff have worked tirelessly across the country in the past weeks and months to ensure that kids could get back into the classroom. The Government must now show their thanks, by properly ensuring the safety of all school staff.
“I have raised this today with the Ministers for Education and Health, seeking an explanation on how this came to pass.”