Northern Ireland news

Teachers demand detailed breakdown of school Covid-19 cases

Since schools reopened, there have been almost 1,500 reported cases of Covid-19

TEACHERS want to see a detailed breakdown of Covid-19 cases in schools, a union has said.

Close to 1,500 pupils and staff have tested positive since the start of the school year.

Education Minister Peter Weir revealed the figure in the assembly on Monday, the first day of an extended Halloween break.

Children returned to classrooms full-time last month after prolonged closures during lockdown.

Already, several schools have been affected by fresh cases. Some have sent home full classes or entire year groups while others have closed.

Mr Weir said between August 24 and Oct 13, there had been 1,491 cases. It is unclear how this is split between staff and pupils.

The INTO union said there was a need for more detail amid increased reports from members of outbreaks in schools.

"We have received an ever-growing number of queries from members who are extremely concerned that they are being exposed to coronavirus despite the almost daily denial of any problem in our schools," said northern secretary Gerry Murphy.

"Concerns not only relate to the occurrence but the ability of the system to deal with the fallout from an outbreak. The ineffectual track and trace system, the organisation of enhanced cleaning are now also placed on already over stretched principals.

"Teachers and principals would be greatly reassured if the minister would go beyond the rhetoric and publish the detailed figures on how many of our young people, their teachers, and their support colleagues have tested positive for the virus since the wider re-opening of schools in late August. It would also be important that in addition to the overall figures that the numbers were broken down by school and job type."

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