This week, children around the country went back to school following six months away from the classroom, after the Covid-19 pandemic led to school closures in March.

For many, the return to school was an exciting time, catching up with friends and teachers, but some children were a bit nervous.

RTÉ's children's news programme, news2day, spoke to Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn to answer some of the questions children have about living with the virus now.

Dr Glynn said that we are still living with the virus, but we are dealing with it, and we have learned so much over the past six months, which is part of what has helped schools reopen.

He said reopening schools was a really important milestone.

Dr Glynn said there are still about 100 cases of the virus every day, but that most cases will be mild.

He said that everybody worries about the virus sometimes, and it is normal to be worried. 

Where are we now with the virus?

"We still have cases of the virus every day," Dr Glynn said.

"Typically we have about 100 new cases every day in Ireland, but the vast majority of those cases are mild, but we report them and we watch them very closely, because what we don't want to happen is for us to have hundreds and hundreds of cases like we did back in April."

The key thing to keep it under control, he said, is washing our hands and doing what our teachers are asking us to do at school.

Many children really missed being at school and are delighted to be back, but some might be worried about it. What would you say to those children?

"It's not unusual at all to worry sometimes, particularly when you haven't been in school for six months," said Dr Glynn.

"It's a bit strange to be going back to that environment. But loads and loads and loads of work has been done over the past few months."

He said you might notice some changes - you might be sitting in a pod, you might notice a one-way system in the corridor, your parents might have to say bye to you at the school gates.

"There'll be lots of little changes, but all of those little changes are about keeping you safe, and keeping the other children and keeping your teacher safe," he said.

There might be new changes over time, but that is all part of keeping everyone safe, he said.

There have been cases of Covid-19 across all ages, and it is "entirely normal" for children to get the virus, said Dr Glynn.

The vast majority of children who get this "might have cold or flu-like symptoms" for a few days and then they will get better.

"Very few children have any significant side effects from this, but whenever we do get a case in children what we don't want is for other children to get it, because we want to stop this virus in its tracks."

What can children do now to stop the spread of Covid-19?

"The first thing to do is to wash your hands - that applies to everybody in every age group," said Dr Glynn.

And don't just pop your hands under the tap to give them a rinse, he said. It has to be 20 seconds, all around your hands with soap.

"You have a really important role to play in getting other people to do the right things," he said.


If you have questions on Covid-19, email them to news2day@rte.ie for Dr Ronan Glynn to answer.