Significant increase in viral infections and Group A Strep infections
TO: All Principals, for sharing with parents, guardians and staff
FROM: Dr Eamonn O’Moore, Director National Health Protection;
Dr Abigail Collins, National Clinical Lead Child Health Public Health
RE: Significant increase in viral infections and Group A Strep infections
DATE: 7th December 2022
There has been a large increase in general viral infections among children and young people this
There have also been recent concerns about a rare bacterial infection. This infection is iGAS (an invasive Group A Streptococcal infection). It is and also known as Group A Strep.
Significant increase in viral infections
We have seen a significant increase in the usual winter viral infections. This includes an increase in flu. This is because children are mixing together more. In previous years social contact was much reduced. This in turn reduced the rates of routine infection.
Typical symptoms of viral infections
Symptoms of viral infections typically include:
- runny or blocked nose
- mild fever
- lethargy (tiredness)Many children with viral infections also have a generalised rash.
Most children with viral infections can safely be cared for at home.
More information can be found at https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/colds-coughs-children/ Group A Strep and related bacterial infections
There have been cases of serious bacterial infections, specifically Group A Strep.
Severe infection is rare. Group A Strep more commonly causes infections such as:
- scarlet fever
- skin infectionsIreland has seen cases of more serious infections recently. But so far there has been no increase compared to what we saw before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Information about managing illnesses of concern will continue to be updated on hse.ie over coming days and weeks.
Important messages for families and children regarding any infections:
1) The most important measure is to stay home if you are unwell.
Many children might have a runny nose or a slight cough in winter season. However, if a child is feeling unwell they should be at home. For example, they may have:
- cough, and
- sore throatThey should stay at home until those symptoms have finished. See https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/colds-coughs-children/Children with symptoms are more likely to spread infections. For example, they may spread flu or bacterial infections. Staying home when unwell will help prevent spread to other children, families and staff.
2) Infection, prevention and control measures
– Cover coughs and sneezes – Keep hands clean
These measures that we all got used to with Covid-19 are still important. They should be encouraged for everyone. These measures help stop the spread of infection.
Making sure your child is up to date on all recommended vaccinations will help: – stop your child getting an infection and
– make them less likely to be unwell if they do get an infection
Routine childhood vaccinations protect against many significant viral and bacterial infections. There is no vaccine against many viral illnesses or Strep A.
More information is available at https://www2.hse.ie/babies-children/vaccines-your-child/
The nasal spray flu vaccine is available for children aged 2 to 17 years. It helps protect against severe infection with flu and onward spread.
Many adults are also recommended to have the flu vaccine.
More information is available at
Vaccination for Covid-19 is still available. Visit
The most important ways to prevent the spread of all infections are:
- making sure anyone unwell stays at home
- children and adults are up to date with their recommended vaccines, including flu 4. If you are concerned about your childIf you are concerned your child may be unwell, please check hse.ie. There is information on coughs, colds, fever, rashes and symptoms of concern. There is advice on when to contact your GP or go to a hospital emergency department. https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/colds-coughs-children/
2022/2023 Parent Teacher Meetings
Important Dates 2022/2023
‘All Together Now!’ musical a massive success
SIMS Parent App Registration & Login Guide
Incoming parents meeting slides
2021/22 Parent Teacher Meetings
Parent Teacher meetings will be held using a virtual platform this year. You daughter will be given the instructions closer to the date:
- 6th Year – Thursday 7th October
- 3rd Year – Wednesday 20th October
- 2nd Year – Tuesday 9th November
- 5th Year Thursday 25th November
- 1st Year – Wednesday 26th January 2022
- TY – Tuesday 8th February 2022
Subject Choice 1st year presentation
If you want to know more about the subject choice for 1st years then here is the presentation to review.
SHS Covid Response Plan August 2021
Sacred Heart School, Tullamore
Covid -19 Response Plan for the safe and sustainable reopening of Post Primary Schools
This is a living document and may be reviewed and amended to take into account new guidance from www.Gov.ie, www.dbei.ie , www.hse.ie, www.hpsc.ie, www.hsa.ie; www.education.ie or agreements with education partners as appropriate for primary and special schools.
Please download the entire plan here (pdf)
The Minister for Education has published “The Roadmap for the Full Return to School” on the 27th July and this was updated again in February 2021. It sets out what the operation of schools will look like and the range of supports which will be available in a COVID-19 context.
It has been developed in line with public health advice issued by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) and in compliance with the “Return to Work Safely Protocols” developed by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Health with guidance documents provided by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA). Each workplace is required to have a COVID-19 Response Plan. In addition to being places of learning, schools are also places of work. This document sets out the information that post primary schools need to implement a School COVID-19 Response Plan, including a COVID19 policy, lead worker representative/s (LWR) and a process to deal with a suspected case of COVID-19.
The purpose of this document is to provide clear and helpful guidance for the safe operation of post primary schools through the prevention, early detection and control of COVID-19. It provides key messages to minimise the risk of COVID-19 for staff, students, families and the wider community while recognising the importance of education for the health and wellbeing of students and society as a whole.
This document focuses on the practical steps which can be taken in post primary schools to minimise the risk of infection while recognising that no interpersonal activity is without risk of transmission of infection at any time. The documentation and templates in this booklet are supported by the public health advice provided by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) for the safe reopening of schools and educational facilities.
One of the key challenges is to balance the need for a practical and sensible level of caution with the need to provide a supportive environment for teaching and learning. This document identifies the steps schools can take to do everything practical to avoid the introduction of COVID-19 into the school, and the steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of the spread within the school itself in the event that COVID-19 is introduced to the school.
The Department has worked intensively with the education partners to develop consistent plans, advice, protocols and guidance for schools, including the School COVID-19 Response plan. There is a suite of documentation available to support schools to reopen safely and fully including guidance on learning, school programmes and wellbeing for the 2020/21 school year. There is also information on funding, staffing and resources to schools to support COVID-19 measures. Schools are advised to familiarise themselves with these documents. All of the documents will be available at gov.ie/backtoschool
In addition the Department has a communication plan for school reopening which focuses on ensuring that schools, school communities and all stakeholders will have the relevant information to support the reopening and continued operation of schools. There is a COVID-19 Response Plan for the safe and sustainable reopening of post primary schools with particular focus on supporting parents and students through the appropriate use of media channels, through schools themselves and on gov.ie.
Please continue reading by downloading the entire plan here (pdf)