By Vivienne Clarke
Immunology expert, Professor Luke O’Neill has said there is no scientific evidence to say schools should not re-open, but that it should be done cautiously.
“The evidence is even more compelling that children are not a major problem here, unlike flu. The schools closure is justified if it’s a disease like flu because children pick that up among each other and then they go and spread it at home – that’s why you close schools in a flu pandemic,” he told the Pat Kenny show on Newstalk.
“This is a different virus with different properties – and the more it’s gone on, the more we’ve realised this. Now there’s really more and compelling evidence that kids aren’t a big source of spread.”
Prof. O’Neill said that while the studies had, in some cases, been completed after the schools had closed, that had been taken into consideration.
“So if lots of kids go back to school, they’re unlikely to be bringing it back home and secondly they pick up the infection, they get very mild symptoms and they may not even spread it anyway.”
Prof. O’Neill said he could not see a reason why a child could not go to school for two days a week, which, for the mental health of the child was extremely important. Medical studies in the past had shown that children kept out of school suffered academically at a later stage.
Vulnerable children who cannot do home schooling benefit from being in school, he added.