Governments are expecting high rates of Covid-19 in the community to hit schools next week but think that the levels of disruption will be lower than last term. It is believed that infection levels in schools could reach record levels, but that fewer pupils will end up being off because of decisions about ‘bubbles’.

Scientific advisers have warned that the reopening of schools is likely to result in "exponential increases" in young people being infected. 

Schools here are set to return this week. With Covid cases much higher than when schools last reopened, it is thought that the virus may find its way into schools in high numbers.

Cases are high in the community and what has been consistently shown is that schools will always reflect what is going on in the community. It is hoped that vaccination has put schools in a stronger position and that Covid testing will assist in identifying cases.

It is felt that the prevalence of infection in the community and school-age groups will be higher than in May 2021. If that turns out to be the case, high prevalence will be seen in schools by the end of September 2021.

Transmission of the virus in schools could be reduced through more participation in twice-weekly mass testing.

The deputy First Minister has tested positive for the virus, as she revealed yesterday on Twitter. Meanwhile, the Department of Health confirms another six deaths and 1,313 new cases have been recorded in the last twenty four hours alone.

The deputy First Minister, who has had two doses of the vaccine, will isolate for the remainder of the week hoping to return to duties next week. The Executive meeting scheduled for Wednesday to discuss the coronavirus restrictions has been delayed as a result. 

A total of 200,660 have tested positive in the North since the pandemic began. The total deaths now stand at 2,364. Some 38 deaths have been recorded in the last seven days which is down from 58 the week before. Over the past seven days 10,620 people have tested positive , down from 11,866 the week before.

There are presently 391 Covid patients in hospital, with 44 in intensive care with bed occupancy at 103 per cent and seven hospitals over capacity. There were 260 Covid admissions in the past week  down from 288. There are active outbreaks in 135 care homes and 2,445,876 vaccinations have been administered.

Cases will undoubtedly rise in the new school term and it is to be hoped that vaccination  can keep pace.