Schools are “not a major source of transmission” an expert has said, but warned there is higher transmission at the gates.
Dr Joanne McClean who is a public health agency official said that a classroom environment can be controlled, but with mixing outside cannot be.
Dr McClean said that the risk to staff is not zero and no higher than any other members of the workfroce.
Government Ministers are to meet on Thursday where they will discuss potential dates for reopening schools, and how this can be achieved.
McClean told the BBC’s Stephen Nolan Show, “Schools are not the major source of transmission … the risk for the staff in the classroom is not higher than other workforces and part of that is due to the excellent measures that schools have put in place.
“Schools have done a huge amount, principals have worked themselves into the ground from September onwards to introduce ways of working in schools that are completely new to them.”
She said that staff and pupils “cannot be magicked” into classrooms, and said that there are two bits in doing this.
“There are two bits to this, there’s the bit that goes on in the classroom that schools can control … and then there is the bit that goes on outside the gates,” she said.
“You just need to look at a school … a child goes to school, all the measures are in place but the minute they come out that door, there is mixing and parents mixing.”
She added, “Every single contact matters, where people meet, coronavirus has the opportunity to spread and this is why it is so difficult for the Executive, they have to strike a balance between keeping every single one of our interactions to a minimum but also allowing society to function is some way,” she said.
“Overall the message for every single one of us still is every single contact matters, keep your contacts as low as possible, stay at home and only have contact with other people when you really have to.”