School and COVID-19


The Department of Education published COVID-19 response plans for primary and special schools and post primary schools to reduce the risk of infection in schools.

From 28 February 2022, the specific protective measures in schools such as staggered breaks and mask wearing will no longer be in place. However, infection prevention and control measures will continue, including ventilation, hygiene measures and advice to stay at home if symptomatic

The Department provides advice and resources for parents and students to support them during COVID-19.

If your child has any symptoms of COVID-19 they should stay home while they have symptoms and for at least 48 after the symptoms have gone. Not everyone is required to do an antigen test. You can find out more about the testing requirement for COVID-19.

If your child has a confirmed COVID-19 infection, they should isolate at home for 7 days. They may also have to wear a mask:

  • Children aged 9 to 12 years should wear a well-fitted mask for 10 days
  • Children aged 13 years and older should wear a medical grade or FFP2 mask for 10 days

Staying safe at school

Hand washing and hygiene at school

Staff and students should maintain hand hygiene throughout the school day.

Wash basins and hand sanitiser can be used. However, young children should not have independent use of alcohol gel containers.

Students and staff should wash hands:

  • When you arrive at school
  • Before eating or drinking
  • After using the toilet
  • After playing outdoors
  • When your hands are physically dirty
  • When you cough or sneeze
  • Moving between classes for post-primary students

Read more on control measures for reopening schools safely (pdf) on

The Department has published practical steps on ventilation in schools (pdf) and carbon dioxide monitors will be distributed to schools.

Your child should not attend school if they are displaying any symptoms of COVID-19

Antigen tests for primary school children

You can request a free antigen test kit for your child if they are age 4 or older and there are cases of COVID-19 in their class in school.

Your child can go to school if they have had an antigen test, but should stay home if they have a positive antigen test.

Special schools

If a positive case occurs in a special school, Public Health will carry out a public health risk assessment.

Read more about antigen testing for close contacts in primary school.

Further information

You can find out more about the supports for children and teenagers during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Page edited: 2 March 2022