Explainer: What parents need to know about the new rules on what happens if their child is a close contact with a Covid-19 confirmed case

Public health doctors insist the change of rules around close contacts of a case of Covid-19 in the classroom from Monday is not a gamble.

ut few could have predicted they would have abandoned a key pandemic measure as figures show school outbreaks more than doubling last week. Parents are confused and teachers nervous. So what is behind this radical shift?

Q: Whose idea was it to change?

A: The recommendation comes from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) which was known for its caution during the pandemic. But last week chief medical officer Tony Holohan recommended an end to automatic testing and restriction of movement for at least 10 days if a child aged 12 or younger, with no symptoms, is a close contact of a confirmed case. He named settings such as primary schools and childcare facilities. If a child who is a close contact has symptoms they should self-isolate and get a test. Testing should still apply in special education facilities but the pupil should not have to restrict movements, Nphet said.

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