According to a public health agency official, the risk of Covid-19 infection is higher at school gates than at classrooms.
A few days before Stormont Executive’s discussion of school reopening, Dr. Joanne McClean paid tribute to the work done to keep students and staff safe in the classroom.
However, she said she could control the classroom environment, but not the outdoor mixing.
Pandemic deaths reached 2,000 on Monday, with an additional four dying from covid, with a daily number of 232 cases.
Most schools have been closed before Christmas holidays as part of a blockade to stop the coronavirus epidemic.
Special schools remain open and mainstream schools are open for the children of major workers.
At the meeting on Thursday, the ministers will discuss possible dates for the reopening of all schools.
Dr. McLean said evidence shows that the risk to staff at school is not zero, but not higher than other members of the workforce.
“Schools are not a major source of infection … the risk to classroom staff is not higher than other workforces, partly due to the excellent measures taken by the school,” she told the BBC’s Stephen Nolan Show. Told.
“The school has achieved enormous amounts of success, and since September the principals have been working on their own to showcase how they work in a whole new school.
But she added that children and staff “can’t cast magic” on school classrooms.
“There are two bits to this. There is a bit that takes place in a classroom that the school can control … and there is a bit that takes place outside the gate,” she said.
“You just have to look at the school … the kids go to school, all the measures are in place, but the moment they come out of that door, there is a mixture of mixed and parents.”
Dr. McLean said that when the school was open, an estimated 0.3-0.6 would be added to the number of virus reproductions, or R-values.
“Every single contact that people meet is important, and the coronavirus has the opportunity to spread. That’s why it’s so difficult for executives. They minimize all of our interactions and society. The function is somehow, “she said.
“The overall message to each of us is that all contacts are still important, keep them as low as possible, stay at home and only contact others when really needed. “
Stormont executives are also expected to discuss future resumption of business, including shops and the hospitality sector, on Thursday.
Hospitality Ulster chief Colin Neil and retail NI boss Grin Roberts said companies should be included to prepare.
Neil said the hospitality department was the “worst blow” of the blockade and urged him to learn lessons.
“Be proactive. Plan well in advance and fight back to accelerate your recovery,” he said.
Roberts said preparations need to begin now so that non-critical retailers can reopen at a later date.
He said the company’s compliance with Covid Marshall, public hand sanitizers, and regulations must all be in place, and executives, the council, and the company will work together to create a plan to reopen High Street. It was.
“In addition, we need to hear more hope in messages from executives to give companies and the wider community confidence that vaccine deployment will lead to recovery and some degree of normality,” he said.
“Executive communication requires more light and fewer tunnels.”
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