Know your rights 24th September, 2020
Know your rights: COVID-19 and school attendance
When should I keep my child home from school during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Keeping schools open during the COVID-19 emergency is a Government priority.
However, many parents have questions about when to keep primary school children at home during the pandemic.
Your child should not go to school if they have:
- Symptoms of COVID-19 – common symptoms are a high temperature, a cough, shortness of breath, loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
- Been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus
- Been living with someone who is unwell and may have coronavirus
- An existing breathing condition that has recently got worse
If any of these apply, you should:
- Keep your child at home and completely avoid contact with other people, as much as possible. This means they must self-isolate. They should only leave your home to see your GP or have a COVID-19 test.
- Phone your GP. They will advise you if your child needs a test.
- Treat your child at home for their symptoms.
No one in your household should go to school, childcare or work until your child gets a diagnosis from their GP or a COVID-19 test result. This means they should restrict their movements.
If your child has other symptoms
You should keep your child at home for at least 48 hours, if they have:
- Headaches or a sore throat – usually, after 48 hours you can send your child back to school as long as their symptoms do not get worse, they do not develop new symptoms and they do not need paracetamol or ibuprofen during the period.
- Diarrhoea – they should stay at home until they have had no diarrhoea for 48 hours.
You and your family can continue your normal routine. You do not need to restrict your movements as long as you are not ill.
If your child has travelled abroad
Your child needs to stay at home and not go to school if they have returned from a country that is not on the green list. They need to restrict their movements for 14 days. They do not need to see a GP unless they develop coronavirus symptoms. You should always check travel advice on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.
Know your rights: Fuel Allowance
I’m getting a State pension. Can I get help with my heating costs?
You may qualify for a Fuel Allowance. This is paid to people on long-term social welfare payments who are unable to pay for their own heating needs. If you are getting a State pension you may qualify for the allowance as long as you live alone or only with:
- A dependent spouse, civil partner or cohabitant and/or dependent children
- Other people getting one of the qualifying payments who would also be eligible for a Fuel Allowance in their own right
- A person who is getting Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Benefit and is caring for you or for your dependent spouse, partner or cohabitant on a full-time basis
- A person getting COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), short-term Jobseeker’s Allowance or basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance
You also need to satisfy a means test. A means test examines your income to establish your means. If you are on a State Pension (Non-Contributory) you automatically satisfy the means test. If you are getting the State Pension (Contributory) you satisfy the means test if you have means of €100 or less per week.
If two or more people living in the same household qualify for the allowance, only one allowance is paid. If your heating needs are met in other ways (for example, if you live in local authority housing where heating is provided) you do not qualify for Fuel Allowance. The Fuel Allowance season usually runs from October to April each year for 28 weeks. You can choose to get the allowance paid weekly, €24.50 per week or in 2 lump sums of €343 – one paid at the start of the season and the second, in January.
If you think you are eligible, you should apply immediately. The allowance is not backdated. You can get an application form for Fuel Allowance (NFS1) from your post office or Intreo centre. You can read more about the Fuel Allowance on the citizensinformation.ie website.
During the COVID-19 pandemic you can contact your local Citizens Information Centre:
• Bray CIC on 0761 07 6780 Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm
• Email Bray CIC at email@example.com – anytime
From July, a limited number of appointments are being made in Bray Citizens Information Centre
You can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:
- The Citizens Information Phone
0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday,
9am – 8pm
- Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer