Department of Education says no advice yet to close schools due to coronavirus

David Hurley

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David Hurley

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david.hurley@limerickleader.ie

Department of Education says no advice yet to close schools due to coronavirus

The Department of Education and Skills is urging schools 'not take unilateral action'

The Department of Education and Skills has responded to speculation on social media that schools across the country are to close for a number of weeks from this Friday in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement, issued this Tuesday afternoon, a spokesperson said the Department is liaising closely with the Department of Health on a continuing basis. 

“Any decision to close schools will be made on public health advice. There is no such advice at this point. It is essential that any decisions regarding responses to Covid-19 are proportionate, necessary and based on specific public health advice. No other response is appropriate.”

Prior to the statement being issued, several messages were circulating on WhatsApp and on other social media platforms, suggesting an announcement was “imminent” that all schools and third-level institutions would not reopen after St Patrick’s Day due to the Covid-19 situation.

The Department of Education and Skills is urging all schools to remain calm and to listen to the advice they are given.

“Public health professionals will contact schools if there is any action to be taken. Schools should not take unilateral action.  Schools, pre-schools and higher education settings  have been provided with advice and guidance in respect of Covid-19,” said a spokesperson. 

The Department says it is deeply conscious of the significance of decisions concerning school closures, and the potential  impact any such decisions would have on parents, families and the wider community.

“This is an evolving situation and the health advice is being updated on a daily basis. The Department of Education and Skills and Department of Health will continue to work closely together on this issue,” reads the statement.

Up-to-date guidance for schools and parents can be found at www.education.ie/covid19.