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Children will no longer have to worry about going to school; Government says they have to go to school if they don’t have any major symptoms of Covid

Dublin: Taking all the regulatory measures into account, Irish children will return to school. The reopening of schools is based on the recommendations of the country’s high-level public health committee.

Schools will operate in compliance with social norms and security arrangements, including face masks. Necessary arrangements have been made in the classrooms as well.

Meanwhile, schools in Northern Ireland have reopened for the first time after months of disruption caused by the corona virus.

The government has decided to reopen the schools with all possible precautions for the betterment of the children. The government also announced a special package for schools to prepare for this. The government has made it mandatory for higher class students, school staff and teachers to wear face masks. Children arriving on school buses should also use the mask.

The Acting Chief Medical Officer, Ronan Glynn requested that anyone concerned, or seeking information on the opening of the school should visit the Return to School page on the Government website.

Last week, about 100 cases of children under the age of 14 were reported, Glyn said. It is expected that even after the school reopens, there will be only similar amount of cases from children. Any health concerns about children should be reported to the Public Health Team. He said, HSE should be informed immediately if Covid contact is suspected.   

The opening of the school was welcomed by various health experts. The National Public Health Emergency Team has been notified that, children may go to school if they have a slight runny nose or sneezing but no symptoms of Covid-19, Irish College of General Practitioners President Dr. Mary Favier said.

Students with high body temperature, cough and loss of appetite and other symptoms that can be attributed to Covid should not go to school.

She also mentioned that, parents need to be a little more careful this school year. Children should be allowed to stay at home up to 48 hours until symptoms subside, Favier said.

The reopening of schools is the right thing to do, said Dr Clíona Ní Cheallaigh, a professor of clinical medicine at Trinity College Dublin and a consultant at St. James’ Hospital in Dublin. She pointed out that most schools in European countries did not have a significant incidence of covid-19.

At the same time, Fórsaraised concerns about the health of school staff in connection with the reopening of the school.  

Fórsa is a trade union representing special assistants and school secretaries. The union is concerned about the lack of adequate care for classroom staff with health problems, including lung, heart and cancer.  

The union’s head of education, Andy Pike said, workers were being told to work in classrooms without social distance, despite clear evidence that the virus could pose a serious risk. He said he had written a letter to Education Minister Norma Foley about this.

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