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Antigen Testing Arrangements for Schools

Posted by Schooldays Newshound, on 18/11/2021. Antigen Testing Arrangements for SchoolsTags: Parenting Teachers

Minister for Education Norma Foley TD and Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD have today confirmed arrangements for a new system of antigen testing of asymptomatic close contacts in primary schools put in place by the HSE.

The Department of Education and the HSE, working in collaboration with the Department of Health, have developed a programme in which antigen tests will be made available to the children in a primary school pod, where a child in the pod has had a PCR test that detected COVID-19. Where two or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 occur in a class, within a seven-day period, outside of a single pod, antigen testing will be offered to the full class.

The tests will be sent to the children’s parents by the HSE.

Parents/guardians of a primary school child, who has been confirmed as having COVID-19 following a PCR test, are asked to inform their school’s principal. The school principal will then inform the parents of other children in the pod of a confirmed case. No personal details of the child will be shared. These parents will be provided with the option to receive free antigen tests for their child, which they will be able to order for delivery to their home.

It is not mandatory for children to participate in antigen testing. Children who are in a pod where a child has tested positive for COVID-19 can continue to attend school, whether they participate in antigen testing or not, provided that they are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

If a child displays any symptoms of COVID-19 they should self-isolate immediately and a parent or guardian should arrange a PCR test.

School principals will not be required to gather evidence of participation or of antigen test results.

Information materials for parents will be shared with schools and publicised directly to parents early next week. The HSE will immediately commence preparation for this programme to be made available. The programme will commence on or before 29 November.

How the programme will work:

When a parent receives a ‘detected’/positive PCR COVID-19 test result on their child, they should notify the school principal immediately.

The school principal will inform the parents of the children in the case’s pod that they are close contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 case. The name of the case or any other details will not be shared.

The school principal will identify the children in the case’s pod, and inform their parents, offering the opportunity to order antigen tests from the distribution company.

The antigen tests will be posted to the parents of the children in the pod.

Parents carry out the antigen test on the day that they receive it and every second day until three tests have been done.

The children in the pod can continue to attend school as long as they remain asymptomatic and their antigen test results remain not detected.

If a child’s antigen test indicates a positive result:

If an antigen test is positive, the child isolates at home and the child’s parent/guardian logs onto the HSE to request a PCR test.

The antigen test distribution company will record the numbers of antigen tests distributed, batch numbers and the names of the relevant schools.

If a child develops symptoms of COVID-19:

If at any stage a child becomes symptomatic they should isolate at home and organise a COVID-19 PCR test if indicated. A 'not–detected' antigen test holds no value in this situation of a symptomatic child.

If two or more cases arise in a class, outside a single pod:

In a case where two or more cases arise in a class, within a seven-day period, outside of a single pod, antigen testing will be offered to the full class.



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