A total of 2,384 students and staff underwent testing for Covid-19 at 147 schools around the country last week, with 31 people, or 1.3% of the total, found to have the virus.

The data is contained in the first weekly 'Covid-19 schools mass testing report' published on the website of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

The Health Service Executive says that reports with detail on numbers in schools will now be published every week.

The latest figures bring to 21,130 the total number of children and workers tested in 789 schools since they reopened in September.

It brings to 501 the total number of cases detected as a result of school testing. This is an overall positivity rate of 2.4%.

With regard to children in general, 625 people under the age of 18 tested positive for the virus last week.

Of these, 116 were under the age of four, 241 were aged between four and 12, while 268 were between the ages of 13 and 18.

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The overwhelming majority of clusters of the virus being detected by public health authorities are linked to private homes.

A cluster is where two or more cases are discovered in a setting. So a child is far more likely to be deemed a close contact and require testing as a result of connections at home rather than school.

A total of 8,439 children have tested positive for the virus since schools reopened, which brought the total number of recorded positive cases among children to 9,670.

Also last week, 658 children and workers were tested in 38 childcare facilities, and nine cases were detected.