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Parents withhold children from Mayo school over coronavirus fears

A group of parents are withholding their children from a national school in Co Mayo due to concer...
Kate Demolder
Kate Demolder

09.01 14 Dec 2020


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Parents withhold children from...

Parents withhold children from Mayo school over coronavirus fears

Kate Demolder
Kate Demolder

09.01 14 Dec 2020


Share this article


A group of parents are withholding their children from a national school in Co Mayo due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19. 

Just seven of 125 students at Claremorris Boys National School have attended school this morning.

The school intended to close early ahead of the Christmas break, after recording at least 12 cases since the mid-term break.

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However, the Department of Education instructed the school to remain open.

In a note on the school's website, staff said they had been left with no option but to re-open.

Principal Mark Loftus said parents who wished to keep their child at home would have his "full support".

"Your concerns and fears are very much shared and fully supported by me. Thank you for all your tremendous support and encouragement", the statement said.

Parent Catherine Walsh told Newstalk Breakfast why she is keeping her son home from second class.

"It's just that we're very nervous," she said.

"We have parents who are over 80 to think about, and my husband is a Type 1 Diabetic so it just makes no sense to stay open with a high number of cases in a small school.

"We know of eight other boys who won't be attending second class today."

HSE data shows that the Claremorris region of Mayo currently has one of the highest incidences of the virus nationally.

The current local rate stands at 258 per 100,000 of the population. That is more than three times greater than the national figure, which stands at 80.

"The health advice at the moment is telling us to restrict our movements over the next couple of weeks to help us stop the spread and we're firmly backing our principal Mark and the board in their efforts to try and stop the spread in Claremorris," Catherine Walsh said.

"We're looking at about 13% of the school that has been affected directly by a positive COVID diagnosis," Principal Loftus said. "So we thought it [closing the school] was the prudent and safest option to make at a local level."

Similarly, Holy Family Senior School in Portlaoise released a statement also announcing their closure due to COVID-19 infection rates.

According to its website, the HSE has "worked with the school, recognising the need to close onsite".

The school added that education will continue online.

Photo: Monika Skolimowska


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