New HSE data shows a 14% increase in the number of under-18 year olds who tested positive last week compared to the week before.

Figures published today show a rise across every age group category for children.

A total of 1,000 children tested positive last week compared to 875 the previous week.

There was a 15% increase in the number of infections detected among second-level school age children, from 347 to 399.

Among primary school going children, 5 to 12 year olds, the number rose from 350 the week before to 390, an increase of 11%.

Among 0 to 4 year olds there was a rise from 178 to 211, which is a rise of 18%.

The data shows the number of Covid-19 cases identified in schools also rose last week, as did the level of testing being carried out in relation to schools. It shows 186 students and school staff tested positive last week in tests carried out involving 291 schools.

This compares to 116 cases identified the previous week via testing in 183 schools.

The positivity rate for school-related testing has remained stable, at 2.5%.

A breakdown of last week's schools' testing data shows that 96 primary school children, 77 post primary school students, and three attending special schools tested positive.

A total of 10 school staff tested positive, 5 at primary level, four at second level, and one working in a special school.

The school data does not include so-called index cases, which would be the original cases identified in the community among school going children or staff which led to the conducting of tests in the school setting.

Meanwhile, the Department of Education has confirmed that pregnant teachers and SNAs, as well as those who are in the very high risk Covid category, should continue to work from home for the remainder of the school year.

This includes those who have been fully vaccinated.

The news has been welcomed by the Teachers' Union of Ireland.