Schools not as safe from Covid now as they were earlier in 2021 – Ronan Glynn
"We've never said that schools are a safe environment. We've said they're a lower risk environment."
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Ronan Glynn has said that schools are not as safe from the spread of Covid-19 as they were earlier in 2021.
Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk on Wednesday, Dr Glynn argued that NPHET never stated that schools are a safe environment but rather a "lower risk" one.
"What I would fully accept is that schools are not as safe now as they were when incidence was lower a number of months ago," he said.
"No environment is as safe now as it was then and we've said all along that when incidence is really high in the community – as it is at the moment – then schools are not as safe as they would otherwise be.
"This comes down to the terminology," Glynn continued.
"We've never said that schools are a safe environment. We've said they're a lower risk environment, they're a safer environment than many others."
Pressed on this distinction and reminded that Minister for Education Norma Foley previously stated thats schools were, in fact, safe environments in accordance with public health advice, Glynn reiterated his definition.
"The public health view is that schools are a safer environment, a lower risk environment than many others," he began.
"And just to be clear – there was a meeting yesterday of public health doctors around the country who are dealing with cases and outbreaks on the ground. Again, it's not to say that there aren't outbreaks in schools; there are and always have been.
"It's not to say that cases don't transmit in schools; they do and always have done. But the message coming across time and again, and again, from public health doctors on the ground yesterday – the two core issues that they're seeing that are leading to issues in schools are 1) the use of antigen tests in children who are symptomatic and 2) full stop, just children who are symptomatic being picked up as cases in school."
Glynn went on to underline, once more, that anyone displaying Covid-19 symptoms needs to stay at home.
The Deputy CMO also appeared on Today with Claire Byrne on Wednesday, where he called on people to rein in their socialisation if they are planning on visiting family over Christmas.
"Our younger population who are not yet due a booster and who have been vaccinated are very well protected," Glynn explained.
"But we're coming into a time of year now, if you recall last year - our key concern at this time last year [was] that in the first two weeks of December, we would have huge levels of inter-household mixing through socialisation.
"So, lots and lots of younger people come together in bars and pubs and other settings around this country in the first two or three weeks of December.
"What then happens from the 20 December onwards is they all go home to their family homes and we get inter-generational mixing."
Glynn said that the combination of inter-household mixing followed by inter-generational mixing was a factor in last January's wave of the virus.
"And so our core message has to be that if you're going to be going home to your family... you need to rein in the socialisation in the weeks ahead."
Featured Image of Ronan Glynn via Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie