Meanwhile, In Drogheda


An email sent from the HSE to parents of St Oliver’s Community College in Drogheda, Co Louth on Wednesday evening

Last night.

Emma O’Kelly, of RTÉ, reported:

Teachers at one of the country’s largest second level schools have expressed concern at what they say are mixed messages they received from the HSE in relation to being deemed a close contact of a person with Covid-19.

St Oliver’s Community College in Drogheda closed to more than half its students after more than 30 of its teachers were alerted yesterday via the Covid tracker app that they were close contacts of a virus case.

They were advised to begin isolating immediately and to await a call from the HSE to arrange testing.

The alerts came after it was confirmed that a staff member at the school had contracted the virus.

However, while some teachers were tested this morning, others were told by the HSE that they did not have to isolate after all, or do a test, and were free to go about their business.

…The teacher, who is among those who received a close contact text alert, said: “We are all beside ourselves.

“It’s the shock of getting the alert and then being told it’s a mistake without any explanation as to what the mistake is. There is this idea that schools will stay open at any cost. We feel like cannon fodder.”



Concern over confusion surrounding close contacts at Drogheda school (RTÉ)

14 thoughts on “Meanwhile, In Drogheda

  1. GiggidyGoo

    Doesn’t say much for the recommendation to use the tracker app does it? Why would the HSE try to put people off getting tested. Maybe Dav can enlighten us.

  2. AlexG

    Tracker App doing its job of alerting to possible risks- then upon assessment the fact that teachers are wearing PPE means they are not in need of testing. All working well by the looks of it.

    1. GiggidyGoo

      So – to bring it outside of such place as as school/classroom where you may be correct. How does the HSE / App determine who is / is not at risk in the general population. e.g. – someone catches the virus. Anyone that is considered a ‘close contact’ is notified. When does the HSE decide that the close contacts aren’t at risk and how do they advise those close contacts?

      1. Cian

        There are two challenges with contact tracing – finding the knowns and the unknowns.

        If I test positive the HSE want to know who was I in contact with so they can follow up with them.

        The “knowns” are easy: the people I live with, people I visited: my ma and da, my mate X; I had lunch with A and B; I played tennis with C; I was in work with D, E and F.
        We can (easily) remember all those people, and work out the relative risk, and I know how to contact them.

        The “unknowns” is difficult . I went to the shops – who was around? I had a coffee – who was nearby? I got a bus – who else was on it?
        This is what the app is for – it can help uncover those unknowns.

        1. GiggidyGoo

          Yes – but ‘When does the HSE decide that the close contacts aren’t at risk and how do they advise those close contacts?’

          1. Cian

            I dunno – they look at the type & duration of contact? masks etc.
            And then they send them a letter (see picture above)

          2. GiggidyGoo

            (….how do they advise those close contacts [that they’re not at risk])

            From the Covid App website (about what a Close Contact alert will look like)

            “It will be able to accurately tell if you have spent 15 minutes or longer near someone who tested positive for the virus.” Isn’t that the basis of calculating the risk of passing it on?

  3. frank

    A simple fix here for the teachers is to check that they are alive. If they are alive all is well but as a precaution take the rest of the month off. However, if they find that they are dead or dying they should consult a doctor / mortician and take the rest of the month / eternity off. QED as my old teacher use to say

  4. Just Sayin

    I’d imagine many staffrooms have cupboards / lockers for individual members of staff.
    Or named letterboxes / pidgeonholes for mail / memos etc…

    Suppose there is a policy of not bringing phones into classrooms, and that teachers tend to leave them in their locker / pidgeonhole (in close proximity to all the other staff phones)

    One of the phones thinks it’s owner is infected (probably because they live in a semi-detached house and their bedroom shares a party wall with nextdoor where someone is infected, or at least their phone thinks so)

    Now all of the phones think that they are infected due to the fact that all the teachers spend their entire working day in a cupboard in the corner of the staff room.

    Only for the fact that the school carried out it own assesment it would have been closed.

    Be interesting to know if the case was real (with symptoms) or just a ‘PCR’ positive

    1. Brian

      Yes, good points. A similar hypothetical case was discussed on the radio a while back. 2 people leave their phones in different gym lockers at different times. They are never in contact but according to the app they are close contacts. Obviously an app only knows the distance between 2 phones at a certain time – the actual level of risk may then need to be evaluated.

  5. Eoin

    Covid19 like any other coronavirus is going to be with us forever. We are just going to have to get back to normal and try to get along with it.

  6. Cian

    phone signal is irrelevant as the tracker app uses Bluetooth.
    It will manage the tracking fine in Louth.

    You will need internet access (wi-fi is ok) so the app can download a list (daily?) of all phone-ids that had a positive match (which your phone then looks to see you were in contact with any of the positives).

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