Covid-19: Schoolchildren do not commonly transmit virus says Dr Ronan Glynn

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

schoolchildren schoolkids

Schoolchildren are the focus of the Department of Health and the HSE this Monday evening, with the countdown to going back to school later this week.

Dr Ronan Glynn, Acting Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said they "commonly" do not spread the virus.

“Evidence from the ECDC and international experience to date suggests that children do not commonly transmit COVID-19 to other children or adults in school settings.

“Internationally, where schools have been reopened, schools have not been a significant driver of community transmission.

“We all have a role to play in keeping this virus at low levels – this is key to protecting our education system over the coming weeks.”

Children may be repeated tested, says Dr Cillian DeGascun, Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory.

“We know that children can get multiple respiratory tract infections over the winter period and as a result could require repeated swab tests. Therefore, NPHET, HSE and NVRL are continuing to assess alternative testing methods for children.”

Dr Siobhán Ni Bhriain, Consultant Psychiatrist and Integrated Care Lead HSE, said; “There will be cases in school aged children just as there have been throughout the pandemic. When these occur, our public health teams will lead the response to limit further transmission- as has been the case in other settings throughout this pandemic.”

Parents are advised to keep children at home if they are sick.

Dr. Mary Favier is President of the Irish College of General Practitioners.

“Parents should remain vigilant around symptoms and keep their children isolated at home if they are experiencing fever, cough, shortness of breath, flu like symptoms, loss of taste or smell. Parents should also remain aware of asymptomatic transmission - like some adults, children may not present symptoms but can still carry the virus. If you have vulnerable people in your limited network, ensure physical distancing is adhered to and encourage regular hand washing habits with your child.”