‘Quarantine yourself' in run-in to Leaving Cert exams, Dr Tony Holohan tells students
Leaving Certificate students have been told to "effectively quarantine yourself" in the run-up to exams, to avoid being disrupted by Covid-19.
Final year students have been urged to limit their social contacts and avoid social gatherings ahead of next month's examinations.
Students will not be allowed to sit their exams if they have been diagnosed with Covid-19, if they have any symptoms of the virus, or if they are a close contact of a confirmed case, a senior Government official said on Friday.
Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said no student wants to face missing exams, and urged them to take measures to protect themselves.
He said: "The way to get through your Leaving Cert is to stop yourself picking up this disease.
"The importance of cutting your contacts and trying to just stay away from other people, and effectively quarantine yourself, in the run-in to the exams, particularly over the course of the next couple of weeks, that will become important, we'll be emphasising that."
He added: "It's about preventing a situation for Leaving Cert students where their illness prevents them from being able to do the exam.
"That's something that no Leaving Cert student wants to think about."
Earlier today, Liz Canavan, assistant secretary-general at the Department of the Taoiseach, said there will be no alternative provision for affected students.
Instead, anyone who is unable to sit an exam due to a coronavirus-related issue or a bereavement will receive accredited grades.
The Leaving Certificate exams start on Wednesday June 9.
Ms Canavan said the State Examinations Commission will issue guidance next week.
She appealed to students to stay safe in the coming weeks because nobody wants to see anyone’s chances taken away.
“It’s really important students continue to follow public health guidelines and limit their contacts over the coming weeks,” Ms Canavan said.
“We’re asking them to avoid social gatherings and consider their own opportunities and opportunities of friends and classmates who intend to sit the exams.”
She added: “Candidates will not be able to present for their examinations if they’ve been diagnosed with Covid-19, if they have any symptoms of Covid-19 or develop those symptoms at any stage over the course of the examinations, if they’re a close contact of a confirmed case, if they’re self-isolating or been advised to self-isolate or restrict movements.
“There will be no alternative to sit the examination and students who are not able to sit for these reasons, or any other reasons including medically certified illness or bereavement, will receive an accredited grade provided they’re eligible for the scheme.
“Nobody wants to see anybody’s chance to sit the exam taken away because they’ve become a close contact or contracted Covid-19 so please follow the guidance and stay safe.”