Chief medical officer seeks to reassure parents as children return to school

Chief medical officer seeks to reassure parents as children return to school

Dr Tony Holohan said that while the country is experiencing “a very high incidence” of Covid-19, the school environment is “not a major source of transmission”.Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The chief medical officer has sought to reassure parents ahead of the return of pupils to classrooms. 

Dr Tony Holohan said that while the country is experiencing “a very high incidence” of Covid-19, the school environment is “not a major source of transmission”.

He urged people to stick to public health measures such as hand washing and social distancing, and not to send their children to school if they show any symptoms of Covid-19.

He said: “Education is at the heart of our society and plays a fundamental role in the development and wellbeing of our children and young people.

“This is particularly true for children and young people who have special educational needs, are disadvantaged or who may have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

“This year, these preparations are being made at a time when our country is experiencing a very high incidence of Covid-19.

“It is important to remember that our experience to date is that the school environment was not a major source of disease transmission and that school reopening did not have a significant effect on the incidence of Covid-19 in children.

“In fact, any increase in incidence among children is often linked to the events that occur around school as much as the events that occur within school.” 

Speaking on Sunday, Dr Holohan said families, parents and school staff had made “considerable efforts” to ensure schools can reopen.

He added: “It is important that we continue to socialise safely and continue to adhere to the public health measures we are all so familiar with, and that our schools have successfully implemented… wash hands or use hand sanitiser, wear a mask if this is what is recommended in your school environment, keep your distance and avoid crowds.” 

Dr Holohan added: “It is important to be aware of the symptoms of Covid-19 to be aware of and do not send your child to school if they display any.

“These are cough, fever, headache, sore throat and blocked or runny nose.

“If your child displays any of these symptoms, support them to isolate and contact your GP for advice and to arrange a test if appropriate.

“These measures will prevent transmission of the virus to others.” 

It comes as latest figures show that 1,952 cases of the virus were reported in Cork in the 14 days to August 25. 

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