NI principal comes in for criticism from DUP man for rejecting self-isolation guidelines

A primary school principal has come in for criticism from a DUP MP for rejecting government guidelines on self-isolation for pupils who come into contact with a confirmed coronavirus case.

Thursday, 9th September 2021, 11:18 am
Updated Thursday, 9th September 2021, 12:08 pm
East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has criticised Diane Dawson, principal of Braniel PS, for rejecting government guidelines

Diane Dawson, principal of Braniel Primary School in east Belfast, said during a BBC radio interview earlier this week that she has “no faith or trust in the current guidance” and is instead sticking to the “excellent practice” that was in place last year.

The current guidelines state that a child aged five to 17 should immediately self-isolate and book a PCR test.

If the test is negative for coronavirus, the pupil can return to class.

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Last year’s guidance, however, was for pupils to remain in self-isolation for 10 days and then return to class.

Responding to Ms Dawson’s comments, DUP MP Sammy Wilson said: “It seems that there are some people who are determined to stop us getting back to normality. Either tests count for something or they don’t.

“If a child tests negative then why keep them from school?”

He continued: “It seems that this principal has no conception of the disruption which sending children home needlessly has on the ability of parents to get out to work which is essential to getting the economy moving.

“However, you would think that as an educationalist she would know how days off school can disrupt a child’s education and if she had even given cursory attention to the academic studies carried out she would know that children from working class areas such as the Braniel suffer most from such disruption.

“This ‘excellent practice’ has seen tens of thousands of children’s education damaged in the long term. There should be more concern about long term education consequences than this mantra of long term covid.”

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