NERVES were high, but excitement was higher, as the pupils returned to school yesterday, some seeing friends and teachers for the first time in months.
Across Cork, hundreds of primary school students were entering their classrooms after almost six months at home due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
From junior infants to six class, many of the kids were full of delight to see their friends after so long, while others were a little anxious and worried.
There will be a lot of adapting to new routines for the students as hand washing and hygiene are now very important aspects of every day life with students encouraged to wash hands on arrival to school, before eating and drinking, after using the toilet, after playing outdoors, when they cough or sneeze and when their hands are physically dirty.
Some schools are putting pupils into pods in order to limit close contact and and masks are to be worn by teachers and staff where the necessary 2m social distancing cannot be maintained.
The Goverment guidelines state that children under 13 do not have to wear a face covering, but desks should be at least one metre apart, and where possible, two metres.
With schools reopening, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Chief, Dr Hans Kluge, has warned that increased cases among young people could ultimately see the virus passed on to more vulnerable older people and cause an uptick in deaths.
Dr Hans Kluge said younger people are likely to come into closer contact with the elderly as the weather cools in Europe.
Speaking at WHO’s Europe headquarters in Copenhagen, he said: “We don’t want to do unnecessary predictions, but this is definitely one of the options: That at one point there would be more hospitalisations and an uptick in mortality.”
The return to school comes as Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly warns of a possible second lockdown due to high numbers of new cases on a daily basis.
Mr Donnelly said that we are “at a tipping point” and another national lockdown is possible if we don’t take this disease more seriously.