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Public health expert says schools are "unlikely to reopen in February"

By James Fenton

January 14, 2021 at 12:29pm

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Public health expert Dr. Gabriel Scally has said that schools are "unlikely" to reopen in February as planned.

Due to a significant rise in Covid-19 cases, schools were initially asked to reopen on January 11 after the Christmas holidays before that date was pushed back to the end of January. Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast today, Dr. Gabriel Scally suggested that a planned return in February would be detrimental as Ireland continues to battle the current wave of coronavirus.

When asked if there's a chance of schools reopening in February, Dr. Scally said: "I would have thought it is very unlikely," adding; "Children are not at great risk but there is no doubt about it that there is the whole process of getting children to school, all of the teachers and staff that are there and there is transmission between children and transmission back into families again so, given the terrible situation we are in, I don’t think schools should be open.”

He advised schools to prepare for an eventual reopening and to "try and make them safer by taking over more space in other buildings, community halls, sports halls, whatever, so that in future months, the classes can be more spread."

Yesterday, 3,569 new cases of Covid-19 were notified but CMO Dr. Tony Holohan said that we are seeing "early signs of hope" that cases are on their way down.

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