Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has likened children going back to school next week to jumping on a trampoline.
In an interview with Virgin Media News, when asked about the risk associated with sending children back to school, he said that kids going on trampolines and driving are also risky.
“Playing sports is an inherently risky thing to do, you know. Our children playing on trampolines is an inherently risky thing for them to be doing,” he told reporter Zara King.
“Driving cars - people die on the roads, lots of people die on the roads.
“The risk is not necessarily much higher, this is about recognising that there are things we do in life that inherently carry a risk and we have to manage that risk,” he said.
In the interview, he said that a school environment is “controlled” and that a home environment is not.
He also said that parents worry about sending their children back to school every year.
“I think every one of us is worried, we’re dealing with an awful virus that we’re still learning a lot about.
“I’ve got three primary school kids, it would be a very unusual situation for us not to be worried. We worry about our children going back to school when there is no Covid.
“Of course we worry about them going back to school, no question about it.
“We manage risk every time we get into a car, you know, driving a car is an inherently risky thing to do. So we have seat belts and we have rules of the road and all of these things.”
He said that the recent measures put in place by the government, including advice to avoid public transport unless absolutely necessary, will reduce community transmission.
“Unfortunately until we have a vaccine widely distributed for Covid-19, that is the case.
“That’s what the measures are about, it’s about saying let's move now, not wait until community transmission goes up, let's move now to do what we know will work to reduce community transmission so that the schools can reopen,” Minister Donnelly added.