23 students of St Mel's College in isolation as a case of Covid-19 is confirmed

Student picked up the virus via community transmission

Jessica Thompson

Reporter:

Jessica Thompson

Email:

jessica.thompson@longfordleader.ie

23 students of St Mel's College in isolation as student is diagnosed with Covid-19

A student in St Mel's College has tested positive for Covid-19

A class of 23 students is currently in isolation following a positive diagnosis of Covid-19 among them. The Department of Public Health has carried out a full public health risk assessment and identified all children who were close contacts of the student who tested positive.

All parents were notified this morning and advised on how to keep their children safe. Those who were close contacts of the student who contracted the virus have been asked to get tested, but parents whose children were not identified as contacts have been advised that a test is not needed, and their children can continue to go to school and to all of their usual activities as normal.

While the young person who tested positive is a student at St Mel's, principal of the school, Declan Rowley, has confirmed that the virus was contracted via community transmission and not in the school, and assured that all necessary measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of the other students and staff.

"We've been working with the HSE in relation to contact tracing and all contacts will be isolating," he told the Longford Leader this afternoon.

"Basically, the case came from the community. We have a very good protective system in place in St Mel's but this was always going to happen. Schools were always going to get it."

One class of 23 students are currently isolating, and Mr Rowley has confirmed tat one teacher in the school is in isolation in relation to a community case, but stressed that the issue is very personal, so no further details could be revealed.

"We're reopening society again, so it's not possible to not have it. It's how you deal with it that matters. The HSE have been on the ball. They acted very quickly and have been guiding us through it. This is our first case and it probably won't be our last. This was always going to happen," he concluded.

In a letter from the Department of Public Health Midlands, parents have been asked to keep an eye on their children for any symptoms of Covid-19 until October 6, and to make sure they are contactable by phone in case new new information emerges.

If children develop symptoms of coronavirus, namely fever, cough, shortness of breath or any loss or change to sense of smell or taste, parents are asked to isolate them and to call their GP for advice. Movements of everyone in the home should be restricted also.

Up to date information on Covid-19 is available via www.hse.ie.