December 9th, 2021
As you know by now, the Department of Education, following advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), has recommended the wearing of face masks/coverings by children in 3rd class and above in primary schools.
This measure is a response to the very high case numbers in older primary school-age children. NPHET has advised that this measure is being introduced on a temporary basis and is subject to review in mid-February 2022. It has been developed in the interest of protecting children and the school staff and the school community.
We strongly urge you now to follow this advice to protect the health and safety of your child and the wider school community.
Face masks/coverings protect both the wearer and others around them. Cloth face masks/coverings are more effective than visors. In the limited circumstances where a cloth face mask/covering cannot be worn, clear visors may be considered.
The following categories of children are exempt on medical grounds from wearing face masks/coverings; the categories include:
- any pupil with difficulty breathing or other relevant medical conditions.
- any pupil who is unable to remove the cloth face mask/covering or visor without assistance.
- any pupil who has special needs and who may feel upset or very uncomfortable wearing the cloth face mask/covering or visor, for example pupils with intellectual or developmental disabilities, mental health conditions, sensory concerns, or tactile sensitivity.
Points to note:
- The children will take regular breaks from their masks – outdoors where possible.
- Masks do not need to be worn outdoors or for PE.
- Pupils do not have to wear a face mask/covering while eating their lunch at their desks or taking a drink during class.
Please remember, the wearing of a face mask/covering does not negate the vital message that children who have symptoms should not attend school.
Parents are encouraged to work with schools in a spirit of partnership and co-operation to ensure the safety of the whole school community. We strongly encourage you to follow these guidelines. Please let the school know if your child may be exempt on medical grounds or if you have an issue and we will endeavour to help you resolve it.
The guidance issued to schools on Monday is attached below.