A total of 3.8% of pupils in County Roscommon primary schools surveyed by the INTO in the week from Tuesday, November 16th to Thursday, November 18th were sick with Covid-19. The survey showed 67 pupils from the schools surveyed had tested positive for the virus.
The union conducted a snapshot survey of 3,100 school principals across the country to assess the level of Covid-19 infection they were aware of in their school community and the extent of the substitution crisis. A total of 877 principals responded to the survey. The data submitted to the survey related to the period from November 1st, 2021 to November 16th, 2021.
Of a total of 231,912 pupils in the responding schools, 3,726 pupils were reported as testing positive for Covid-19 (based on the sample of 877 schools that responded).
In the schools responding to the survey nationally, 3.62% of staff (605 of 16,694) were reported as testing positive for Covid-19 during this period. *
In terms of substitution 11,778 substitutable days were reported during the survey period, of which 31.36% (3,693 days) were not covered.
Responding to the findings of the survey in respect of Covid-19 infection in primary schools, INTO General Secretary John Boyle said: “Our snapshot survey shines a light on a primary education system that is creaking at the seams. Soaring transmission levels are an indictment of the premature removal of testing and contact tracing from our primary schools, and of the frustrating failure to move quickly to deploy antigen testing. The cessation of public health risk assessments following primary school outbreaks, and the resulting unavailability of weekly reports detailing infection levels from 27 September, has concealed the escalation of positive case numbers among pupils and staff in primary schools. It simply cannot be a coincidence that the number of 5–12-year-old children contracting the virus has trebled since crucial public health supports were removed from the primary sector less than two months ago, abandoning teachers and principals to protect themselves and their unmasked, unvaccinated pupils from the impact of the highest wave of infection in their schools since the pandemic began.”
“The INTO is calling for an immediate review of the Covid-19 response plans for primary and special schools to address the upsurge in infection levels manifest since the delta variant took hold in school communities.
“The fast-tracking of the booster vaccine programme and the provision of vaccines for children aged under 12 will be essential to support the primary education system in the coming months,” said Mr Boyd.