Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

10.29 27 Feb 2021


Share this article


A GP is advising parents to not send their children to school if they are sick amid the phased resumption of in-class teaching from Monday.

Junior infants, senior infants, first class, second class and Leaving Cert students will be the first group to go back to schools next week.

Fifth years and all other primary school classes will return to school from March 15th, with all outstanding classes to return after the Easter break.

In an open letter issued last night, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer appealed to parents to limit their interactions with other people when schools reopen.

Dr Ronan Glynn has urged parents not to congregate at school gates and to avoid organising play dates.

"Our priority is to ensure a safe return to schools for students, their families and school staff, which is why we have recommended a phased return to in-school learning," he said.

"Please avoid congregating at school gates over the coming weeks. Please do not have play dates or organise after school activities which involve household mixing.

"There will of course be a natural tendency for parents to stop and chat, and to catch up - given they haven't seen each other for so long, and given the enormous efforts they've had to make themselves over the last number of weeks in particular.

"But I would really ask people to try to limit their mobility and limit household interaction as much as possible over the coming weeks."

schools re-opening Children's art hanging on the railing of St Canices Boys School in Finglas Dublin. Photo: Leon Farrell / RollingNews.ie

Dr Nina Byrnes, a Dublin GP and Medical Director at Generation Health Medical Clinics, said the Deputy CMO's letter was a good idea and served as a reminder for people to adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines as schools reopen.

She told Newstalk Breakfast with Susan Keogh: "I think people know the message and I don't think there was any harm in having it reinforced.

"Every time we open things up there's a slight relaxation, so [health officials] just wanted to reinforce that the only part that's being relaxed is that kids are going back to school, that everything else stays in place."

Dr Byrnes said it was important that play dates or after school household visits are not organised.

"There may be a temptation to say, 'Oh they're in the classroom together, sure what difference does it make if they're in each other's house'," she added, but this should be avoided.

Free GP advice

She stated to parents that it was "really important" that children not go to school if they're sick, and to not assume that it's "just a head cold".

"The most common virus out there now is COVID, so if your child is feeling unwell, if they have a cough or a particularly congested nose, you need to contact your doctor," Dr Byrnes added.

"Remember, calls to your GP related to COVID symptoms are free, so don't be afraid to talk it through with your GP, they will advise you best as to whether the child needs a test or not.

"It's always better to err on the side of caution with this.

Dr Byrnes said that as the schools reopen, it was important that people "double down" on their efforts to suppress COVID-19.

"There are people who will be concerned and the reason we're opening up schools gradually is we do need to see with the new UK variant is there more transmissibility in schools, will the numbers go up," she stated.

"If we all want society to keep opening, which is what most people want, it's even more important we double down in the next few weeks.

"So if cases go up, is it just related to the schools, or are the cases going up because we have relaxed because the schools are opened."

Main image: File photo. Credit: Luka Dakskobler / SOPA Images/Sipa USA

Share this article


Read more about

COVID-19 Restrictions Covid-19 GPs School Reopening Schools

Most Popular

Live: Title

Now playing

00:00:00 / 00:00:00
Added to queue
Removed from queue

On Air

Share

Share


Up next

Episode title
Show
Duration

You currently have no podcasts in your queue.

Go to podcasts

On Air

Best Of Newstalk

Best Of Newstalk

00:00-07:00

Share

Up next

DOCUMENTARY AND DRAMA ON NEWST...

DOCUMENTARY AND DRAMA ON NEWSTALK

07:00-08:00

Share

NEWSTALK BREAKFAST WITH SUSAN...

NEWSTALK BREAKFAST WITH SUSAN KEOGH

08:00-09:00

Share

ALIVE AND KICKING WITH CLARE M...

ALIVE AND KICKING WITH CLARE MCKENNA

09:00-10:00

Share

TAKING STOCK WITH VINCENT WALL

TAKING STOCK WITH VINCENT WALL

10:00-11:00

Share

ON THE RECORD WITH GAVAN REILL...

ON THE RECORD WITH GAVAN REILLY

11:00-13:00

Share

OFF THE BALL

OFF THE BALL

13:00-19:00

Share

TALKING HISTORY WITH PATRICK G...

TALKING HISTORY WITH PATRICK GEOGHEGAN

19:00-20:00

Share

FUTURE OF WORK

FUTURE OF WORK

20:00-21:00

Share

FUTUREPROOF WITH JONATHAN MCCR...

FUTUREPROOF WITH JONATHAN MCCREA

21:00-22:00

Share

THE TOM DUNNE SHOW

THE TOM DUNNE SHOW

22:00-00:00

Share

BEST OF NEWSTALK

BEST OF NEWSTALK

00:00-06:00

Share

BREAKFAST BRIEFING

BREAKFAST BRIEFING

06:00-06:30

Share

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Share on