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Face Masks from 3rd-6th Classes

Dear Parents,

Late this evening, schools received information from the Department of Education and Skills regarding Face Masks in primary schools for children in 3rd to 6th classes which I have copied below. We also received a letter from Dr. Tony Houlihan, CMO, tonight for your attention which I have attached as a pdf. Please take a look at the Face Mask Poster also for your child. We will go through this in the morning with the children in 3rd -6th classes.
Please familiarise yourself with this information:

Face coverings in Primary schools

NPHET has recommended the wearing of face masks/coverings by children aged nine years and
above on public transport, in retail and other indoor public settings as already required for children
aged 13 years and over. They have also recommended that this is introduced for children in 3rd
class and above in primary schools. They have advised that this measure is being introduced on a
temporary basis and is subject to review in mid-February 2022.

Guidance on face masks/coverings in Primary schools

Wearing a face covering or mask does not negate the need to stay at home if symptomatic.

Wearing of face masks/coverings
Pupils from third class and up in primary schools are required to wear a face mask/covering. The
exemptions to this are set out below.

Face masks/coverings

Face masks/coverings act as a barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from travelling into the air
and onto other people when the person wearing the face mask/covering coughs, sneezes, talks or
raises their voice. Face masks/coverings are therefore intended to prevent transmission of the virus
from the wearer (who may not know that they are infected) to those with whom they come into
close contact.

Face masks/coverings must not contain any slogans/logos/images that may cause upset or be
deemed offensive to any member of the school community.

Visors

Face masks/coverings are more effective than visors. In the limited circumstances where a face
mask/covering cannot be worn clear visors must be considered.

Exemptions

A medical certificate to certify that a person falls into a category listed below must be provided to
the school on behalf of, any person (pupil) who claims that they are covered by the exemptions
below:
 any pupil with difficulty breathing or other relevant medical conditions
 any pupil who is unable to remove the cloth face-covering or visor without assistance
 any pupil who has special needs and who may feel upset or very uncomfortable wearing the
cloth face covering or visor, for example pupils with intellectual or developmental
disabilities, mental health conditions, sensory concerns or tactile sensitivity.

Schools will be best placed to identify those children whose complex needs are such that the
wearing of face covering may not be possible for them, and to discuss this with parents as
required. In such circumstances a school may not require medical certification to provide an
exemption to the wearing of face coverings. In other circumstances where a medical certificate is
not provided that person (staff or pupil) will be refused entry to the school.

Directions for effective use of face masks/coverings

 Information should be provided by schools on the proper use, removal, and washing of face
coverings. Advice on how to use face coverings properly can be found here.
 All pupils should be reminded not to touch the face covering and to wash or sanitise their
hands (using hand sanitiser) before putting on and after taking off the face covering.
 Face masks/coverings should be stored in a designated space, for example, in an individually
labelled container or bag.
 Cloth face coverings should be washed after every day of use and/or before being used
again, or if visibly soiled.
 Face masks/coverings should not be worn if they are wet. A wet cloth face covering may
make it difficult to breathe.

Pupils using school transport

Pupils from 3rd class and up on the primary transport scheme are required to wear face
masks/coverings subject to the exemptions above.

Mixed classes in single rooms

Where there are mixed classes, e.g. 2nd and 3rd class in a single classroom, schools should note that
only children in 3rd class and above, are required to wear face masks. As per previous advice,
however, parents of other children who would prefer that their children wear a face mask are not
precluded from doing this.

Provision of face masks

Parents should be advised that they obtain face masks for their children which fit properly and are
comfortable for the child to wear. In the event that a child forgets, loses or damages their masks
during the course of the school day, then the school should have a sufficient supply to replace the
mask for the child in case a back-up face covering is needed during the day or where required on an
ongoing basis.

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