IRELAND'S schoolchildren have been told to stay at home if they have any symptoms of Covid-19, including even a cough.
Schools have reopened across the country this week, and health experts are fearing a significant surge in Delta variant cases given the amount of mixing students are likely to do.
As such, The Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) has issued a new plea for parents to take responsibility and keep their child home if they're sick.
They've also warned of congregation at school gates as the new terms gets underway.
"All members of the school community, teachers, parents and pupils alike, have a role in preventing the spread of Covid-19, including the more transmissible Delta variant in our primary and special schools," an INTO spokesperson said.
"It is imperative that parents refrain from sending their pupils to school where they exhibit the symptoms set out by the HSE."
These symptoms include:
- a fever (or a temperature of 38C or above)
- a cough
- shortness of breath (or breathing difficulties)
- a loss of or change to your sense of taste and/or smell
The spokesperson added they had been getting reports of gatherings outside school buildings, and even large groups standing together drinking coffee.
"We implore parents to avoid close congregation outside the school building and heed the advice of school staff when necessary," the spokesperson added.
Elsewhere, debate rumbles on about whether face masks should be made mandatory for primary school children.
Currently, kids over the age of 12 must wear a mask to school, but the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has commissioned research on whether the age limit should be lowered.
Earlier this week, a video went viral of an Irish student being prevented from returning to school because he wasn't wearing a mask, even though he had a doctor's note saying he was medically exempt.