IMMEDIATE DISEMINATION OF INFORMATION WHEN A CHILD ATTENDING SCHOOL TESTS POSITIVE

IMMEDIATE DISEMINATION OF INFORMATION WHEN A CHILD ATTENDING SCHOOL TESTS POSITIVE

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Paula Kennedy started this petition to Parents

PETITION

TO: Stephen Donnelly T.D., Minister for Health and  Paul Reid, CEO of the HSE;

REQUESTING THE ABOVE NAMED PERSONS TO INSTRUCT THE HSE TO ENSURE THE IMMEDIATE SHARING OF VITAL INFORMATION WITH A SCHOOL PRINCIPAL IN RELATION TO WHEN A CHILD ATTENDING THE SCHOOL TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19

in accordance with Regulation 11 of the 1981 Infectious Disease Regulations and Article 9(2)(i) and Recitals 46, 52, 53, and 54 of the GDPR

BACKGROUND 

We, the undersigned parents and guardians, of children attending Gaelscoil Ui Drisceoil, Dun Citil, Gleann Maghair, Corcaigh,  T45YY19, supported by our wider families and communities hereby request an immediate amendment to the current public health Covid 19 guidance so as to ensure the safety and health of our children and the staff at Gaelscoil Ui Drisceoil and in all schools across Ireland.

4 areas of procedural change are needed immediately to reduce Risk to our Children, our Families, School Staff and our Community

1.      Under the current guidelines, If a pupil tests positive for Covid-19, the parents of the COVID19-POSITIVE pupil will be informed by the HSE, but the school Principal will only be informed if a parent gives their consent for that information to be shared.

In accordance with the current HSE Public Health guidance, a school is only informed if a parent gives permission for public health to share that information. Thus it is possible for COVID19-POSITIVE subjects/pupils to disregard public health guidelines, to not self -isolate and to continue to attend school, as the Principal has no knowledge of their case.

It also means that no Risk Assessment is carried out at the school by HSE and that the school carries on as normal. COVID19-POSITIVE pupils can continue to attend school, as the Principal has no knowledge of their COVID19-POSITIVE diagnosis, which is exactly what occurred in Gaelscoil Uí Drisceoil 

 

2.      Where parental consent is given, the Principal is not informed immediately by the HSE, there is often a time lag of 16 hours to 24 hours meaning that close contacts of the COVID19-POSITIVE pupil will most likely be in attendance for an additional school day before the HSE conduct a Risk Assessment to identify the close contacts, therefore greatly extending the risk to other pupils, siblings, other classes, other families and school staff.

 

3.      Principals are prohibited from sharing information with the parents of a particular class when COVID19-POSITIVE/S have been identified in that class, leading to further lack of dissemination of information within the class/school and greatly increased risk.

 

4.      Principals are prohibited from receiving information whereby a pupil is assessed and referred for Covid-19 testing by either a G.P./Medical Professional or identified by the HSE as a close contact and does not subsequently present for testing . The pupil may continue to attend school unaware of whether he/she is COVID19-POSITIVE.

The HSE ARE PERMITTED to Share Vital Information with Principals

 

The HSE has significant powers regarding the sharing of data in the case of notifiable diseases. COVID19 became a notifiable disease in February 2020. Regulation 11 of the 1981 Infectious Disease Regulations grants the HSE extensive powers when dealing with a public health crisis. Regulation 19 creates an offence to fail to provide information.

Article 9(2)(i) of the GDPR explicitly allows the processing of sensitive personal data (including genetic data, biometric data, and data concerning health) if it is “necessary for reasons of public interest in the area of public health.” Recitals 46, 52, 53, and 54 also explicitly acknowledge the need to sometimes process special categories of personal data for reasons of public interest in the area of public health.

 

The Impact

On our Children ;

·         The negative impact on their health, on their physical, emotional, social and mental welfare and of course on their education. Not forgetting the implications on our other children, perhaps in other schools including creches and secondary schools. Restricting movements and self-isolation can be traumatic for children,

·         On Our Complete Family;

the enormous worry, mental and physical impact on families (parents and siblings) who have contracted Covid-19 because of vital information not being shared with the school Principal.

·         On our Most Vulnerable;

the heightened risk to elderly grandparents, members of our family with underlying illnesses who may have been exposed unknowingly to positive cases and carriers.

·         On our School management and staff ;

the huge work impact on the Principal and teaching staff coming in early morning to late to help decontaminate the school and reduce risk to our children.

·         On Our Community 

The impact on Covid-19 spread to others in our community who unknowingly have been  in contact with our children or our families

·         On Us, as Parents; 

the strain, the continuous worry for our children's health, the financial loss on parents having to stay off work and the knock-on impact on our businesses and on our employers.

As An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, said in his address to the nation on Friday 27th Nov.,   ‘Every Contact Counts’.

 

Contacts can only count in schools if the Principal has the essential information and the authority to act on this information and share it appropriately.

 

What we Want to see Changed NOW

1.      We want an immediate review and amendment to the current system and the HSE to stop withholding vital information that effects the health of our children and our families.

2.      We want vital information about each COVID19-POSITIVE pupil to be given to each school Principal as soon as that information becomes available.

3.      We want full transparency regarding COVID19-POSITIVES in a school setting. Parents of a class year have a fundamental right to information when a COVID19-POSITIVE has been identified in a Class year group. The Principal should have the authority to share the relevant information with the parents of the class year group and the entire school. This would allow all parents to make informed choices as to whether or not they feel it is safe to send their child/children to school.

4.      We want the HSE to classify the ‘classroom’ as a ‘household’ in relation to contact tracing and infection control procedures. 

 

What we Need

We need absolute and written assurance from Public Health on the above changes and measures which will be undertaken in order to protect the health of each child in the school environment. 

We need these changes put in place and assurance given to us as parents in writing (via the school) prior to 08/12/20 when Gaelscoil Ui Drisceoil is scheduled to reopen.

This cannot happen again!

These measures will significantly reduce the Covid-19 health risks to children  and will assist in preventing a recurrence of future Covid-19 outbreaks within schools, supporting a safer environment to the health of children in a school setting during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Cáirde na Scoile

Parents Association of Gaelscoil Ui Drisceoil

02/12/2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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