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Schools not as safe from COVID-19 as they were earlier in the year - Deputy CMO

“We’ve never said that schools are a safe environment - we’ve said they’re a lower risk environment."
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

16.28 24 Nov 2021


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Schools not as safe from COVID...

Schools not as safe from COVID-19 as they were earlier in the year - Deputy CMO

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

16.28 24 Nov 2021


Share this article


Schools are not as safe from COVID-19 as they were earlier in the year, according to the Deputy Chief Medical Officer.

Dr Ronan Glynn claimed NPHET has never said schools are a safe environment, but that they are safer than other areas.

That's despite Health Minister Stephen Donnelly and other ministers repeatedly saying schools are safe, citing NPHET advice.

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Dr Ronan Glynn said there is more risk in classrooms since the fourth wave of COVID-19 took hold in the community.

Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show, Dr Glynn said he “fully accepts” that schools are not as safe now as they were a few months ago when incidence was lower.

Schools not as safe from COVID-19 as they were earlier in the year - Deputy CMO

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However, he said that is the case across all environments due to the current surge of COVID cases.

He said: “We’ve never said that schools are a safe environment - we’ve said they’re a lower risk environment.

“The public health view is that schools are safer environments than many others.”

Dr Glynn said the virus does transmit in schools, and outbreaks do happen in schools.

However, he said one of the core issues is symptomatic children being sent into classrooms rather than being kept at home.

He also suggested there's a problem with antigen testing being used for symptomatic children rather than PCR tests.

It comes as the Education Minister confirmed antigen testing will be introduced in schools from Monday.

Norma Foley says the new system for close contacts be operational from November 29th, and guidance will be made available to schools and parents this week.

Meanwhile, unions and the department are meeting to discuss student teachers being recruited to primary schools to deal with a COVID-19 staffing crisis.

Main image: File photo. Picture by: Alamy Stock Photo

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