Parents are being advised to keep children with 'uncommon' symptoms of COVID-19 - such as a stuffy nose or a headache - home from school, a teachers' union says.
Hundreds of thousands of children returned to classrooms this week, amid the ongoing Delta wave of COVID-19 infections.
Since the start of the pandemic, symptoms such as a cough and loss of sense of taste or smell have been widely cited as the most common symptoms of the virus.
However, some symptoms associated with other common respiratory illnesses - such as a headache or runny & stuffy nose - have been cited as possible symptoms of the now dominant Delta strain.
John Boyle from the INTO spoke to The Pat Kenny Show about the return to school and the advice that's now being given to parents.
He said: “It’s difficult maybe for people to understand how challenging it has been to keep COVID-19 out of schools - particularly primary, with the largest classes in Europe and very little social distancing. The children aren’t vaccinated and don’t wear masks.
“The big gamechanger… is the Delta variant. The Government has changed their game plan.
"They have advised schools there are new symptoms now - common and uncommon."
Common symptoms include a fever, high temperature, shortness of breath, and a change in someone's sense of smell or taste.
Uncommon ones, meanwhile, include a sore throat, headache, runny / stuffy nose, feeling sick or vomiting and diarrhoea.
Mr Boyle said it's a "very long list" of symptoms that parents need to consider when deciding whether to send their child to school.
He said: “The advice is they should restrict their movements and contact the GP if they have any of those common or uncommon symptoms.
“If people adhere to the Government advice, I think we’ll have a successful year again.”
The Department of Health's official guidelines state: "If your child has any of the following symptoms of Covid-19, do not send them to school and contact your GP:
"A temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or more, a new cough, loss or changed sense of taste or smell, shortness of breath or an existing breathing condition that has become worse, fatigue, aches or pains, other uncommon symptoms of Covid-19, such as sore throat, headaches, diarrhoea, runny or stuff nose or feeling sick or vomiting."
Current HSE advice says a child should be "isolated from other people" if they have common symptoms of the virus - including a high temperature and a new cough.
A parent should call a GP to arrange a COVID test, and everyone who lives with the child - including parents - should also restrict their movements.
For symptoms such as sore throat, headaches, feeling sick or vomiting, it's advised that a child be kept home for at least 48 hours.
The HSE says: "It’s unlikely they have COVID-19, but they could be a sign of another infectious illness.
"The people your child lives with do not need to restrict their movements as long as they feel OK."
However, the HSE says it is OK to send a child to school if they only have a runny nose or is sneezing.
You can read the full HSE advice to parents on their website.