Children and adults will need to take precautions when schools re-open - WHO

The World Health Organisation says just because children do not get severe Covid-19 symptoms, does not mean they can't spread the virus.
Children and adults will need to take precautions when schools re-open - WHO

Taoiseach Micheal Martin has said he is confident students will be back in the classroom in under six weeks. Picture: iStock

Discussions are continuing this weekend on the measures needed to allow the full reopening of schools next month as the World Health Organisation said precautions will be needed when schools do re-open.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said he is confident students will be back in the classroom in under six weeks.

It is thought a major financial package is planned that will include enhanced cleaning regimes, curriculum changes and more substitute teachers.

Yesterday, the Irish Examiner reported that the Government will approve a "very significant" package worth €200m on Monday to allow a full-time reopening of every school in the country next month.

Mr Martin has personally intervened to ensure delivery of what has been described as his Government’s “top priority” in getting all 1m school children and 100,000 school staff back in classrooms at the end of August.

This publication reported yesterday that the €200m contains €125m of Covid-related support funding and €75m in minor works funding announced in the July stimulus on Thursday.

The plan will also be fully in accordance with the public health advice, with stricter social-distancing requirements for older children.

The Cabinet will be briefed on the details tomorrow before its publication.

Last week, the Tánaiste warned that it would reflect very badly on Ireland if we were on the only country in Europe that cannot reopen schools in the coming weeks.

Speaking in the Dáil, Leo Varadkar said hairdressers, shops, restaurants and even the parliament had opened as he stressed the importance of classes resuming.

He pointed to Germany, which has had higher incidence of Covid-19, and said they had been able to reopen schools there.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation says just because children do not get severe Covid-19 symptoms, does not mean they can't spread the virus.

Margaret Harris from the WHO says children and adults will need to take precautions when schools re-open.

“So this is one of the areas where there has been a lot of confusion because children quite often don’t get a very severe illness,” she said.

Ms Harris said this led to people thinking they don’t spread the virus.

She added: “Just because you don’t have symptoms doesn’t mean you can’t spread the virus.

“Or just because you have mild symptoms doesn’t mean you don’t have the virus in your mouth or nose.”

Ms Harris said some approaches in countries have been to put children in small groups.

She said that way, “you know if indeed a case arises the potential for spread has been very limited.

“And you know where that virus is likely to have tracked too.

“So there are many things you can do.”

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