Over 100 children test positive for Covid-19 in two weeks, says NPHET
Schools will begin reopening this week.
Over 100 children have tested positive for Covid-19 in the past two weeks, the National Public Health Emergency Team has said.
According to the NPHET Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, there has been 100 confirmed coronavirus cases in patients aged between five and 14 in the last 14 days.
These cases have been confirmed as "household outbreaks."
Professor Philip Nolan told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that the rise in cases once schools return will likely be attributed to these home outbreaks, rather than the schools themselves.
He said that although schools will see clusters, he can give "a great deal of assurance" that this will not lead to increased Covid cases among the elderly and vulnerable.
"We will see cases in students and teachers and clusters in schools," he said, "but when we see that, we need to think carefully and look carefully.
"If, for instance, there are two children in the same school with Covid in two months' time, it is much more likely that those two kids have separately got it within their own households, rather than transmitting from child to child within the school."
Prof Nolan added that although parents and teachers are concerned about schools reopening, there is considerably more information available about the virus compared to what existed back in March.
This comes as schools across the country are set to begin reopening this week, with schools in Northern Ireland reopening today for the first time since March.
Although NI's chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride has said that it is safe for pupils and teachers to return, the teacher's union has expressed concerns around the measures in place.
ASTI, the second level teachers' union, has expressed similar concerns in the Republic, most notably for students and teachers who may be more vulnerable to the virus.
"School communities have been working hard to get schools ready for reopening," said ASTI president Ann Piggott.
"The ASTI is seeking this meeting to have the concerns of teachers addressed, most especially teachers suffering from serious underlying illnesses."