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Unmasked students should not be excluded from primary schools -latest Dept advice

In a relaxation of the rules regarding mandatory mask-wearing for primary school children from grade three to grade three, the education ministry said it had no intention of excluding children, while urging schools to take a pragmatic approach.

The Education Ministry has revised the controversial instructions issued last week to schools, which directed that older children should be barred from attending primary school if they refuse to wear masks without a medical reason.

New guidelines on the topic issued this morning by the department in the form of Frequently Asked Questions state that “no child is intended to be excluded from school in the first place.”

Primary school principals now have the flexibility to excuse pupils from wearing face coverings if they feel they are “inappropriate” to a child’s needs.

Doctors have reportedly received a lot of requests from people seeking proof of a medical exemption from wearing masks for their children.

Speaking in Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio, Dr Marie Favier, president of the ICGP and Nphet member, said it was a problem last week.

“The GPs have been very busy dispensing masks but that has largely faded away,” she said.

The new guidance from the Department of Education specifies that “every effort should be made to clearly communicate the public health reasons underlying the wearing of a face mask.”

It also urges “the need to find a solution that focuses on the partnership between the school and the child’s parents or guardians in order to solve problems.”

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