NHS expert, Prof Saul Faust, has said it is safe for schools to open as they are not a virus spreader.
Prof Faust, who led the UK trials of one vaccine, stated this after kids in classrooms were declared not to be the second wave’s “major driver” by Northern Ireland’s Public Health Association.
He said: “Increasingly, we think transmission reflects the local society and environment around the school.
“For secondary schools, we have to be sure the rate of transmission around that school is low enough, not because it’s unsafe for children but otherwise it’s going to look as if children are getting Covid more.
“The risk is people perceive schools as being places that cause transmission and I don’t think that’s true,” he added.
Meanwhile, his theory is backed by a study from the University of Warwick, which found school cases follow a rise in infections in the community, not the other way around.
Giving more backing to Prof Faust statement, Dr Mike Tildesley said: “We are not seeing that cases in schools then led to cases in the community… we are certainly not seeing overwhelming evidence that schools are driving risks in the community.”
Similarly, Prof Sarah Lewis, Professor of Molecular Epidemiology, University of Bristol, said: “Cases in schools seemed to correlate most strongly with cases in the community 5-7 days earlier (which is the typical incubation period), suggesting that cases in the community were spilling into schools rather than vice versa.”