COVID-19 Educational Settings cases and close contacts definitions

A new national definition of cases and contacts within the educational setting has been agreed (see below). This definition takes into consideration the findings of the Public Health Risk Assessment (PHRA), which is undertaken in all educational facilities where a confirmed case has attended whilst infectious. The PHRA assesses many different aspects of disease transmission as laid out in the Schools Pathway document.

Definitions of cases and close contacts within the Educational Setting (Child care facilities, Primary, Post- Primary and Special Educational Needs sector)

Version 1.0

Case - A confirmed case of COVID-19 notified to the Medical Officers of Health, HSE.

Contact - As per current HPSC close contacts guidelines a clinical Public Health Risk Assessment (PHRA) will be undertaken for all educational settings where a confirmed case has attended whilst infectious. This PHRA will determine the close contacts. It is assumed because of the length of the school day, they will have been within a closed space for at least two hours.

Close contacts definition:

  • Any person who has had face to face contact for <1m with a confirmed case of COVID-19 for >15 minutes in a school day.
  • Any person who has been between 1 and 2 metres from a confirmed case of COVID-19 for >15 minutes in a school day with consideration of other mitigation measures e.g. face-coverings, pods, ventilation, IPC measures or uncertain compliance with mitigation measures in place (assessed through clinical PHRA)

Contacts are assessed from contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 during their infectious period - 48 hours before the onset of symptoms if symptomatic, or 24 hours before the test for COVID-19 was taken in those who are asymptomatic.

Last updated: 30 October 2020