AN outbreak of flu has hit so many school wardens in Kildare that their duties have been taken over by the Civil Defence.
Schools in Newbridge, Maynooth, Leixlip and Celbridge have been affected -- leaving the children without a school warden to help them cross the roads in safety.
County Road Safety Officer Declan Keogh has warned that while every effort is being made to ensure that the road crossing are covered, it is likely that some schools will be left without wardens while the flu outbreak continues.
"We are asking parents and guardians to accompany their children to school safely and to collect them in the afternoons.
"We would also ask drivers to be more aware -- some students may be going to school alone or in a group so we would ask motorists to give way on the road and allow them to get across the road safely," he added.
The Civil Defence has been assigned to help out at schools in Leixlip and Celbridge because of the high numbers of students in those areas.
"There are over 1,000 students going to school on the Green Lane in Leixlip," said Mr Keogh.
"The Civil Defence is trained in traffic management. They are garda vetted and are trained in crowd control." He warned against putting parents or members of the public in place as temporary wardens because of difficulties with insurance and student welfare under the Child Welfare Act.
The schools affected include the Presentation Girls Primary School in Maynooth, Scoil Ui Dhailig, San Carlos Junior and senior schools and Scoil Bhride in Leixlip, Primrose Hill, Scoil na Mainstreach and Scoil Bhride in Celbridge. Scoil Mhuire junior and senior in Ballymany in Newbridge is also affected.
Temporary relief warden Keith Walker, from Kildare County Council, has advised people to use traffic lights where there is no warden.