Face masks could be made compulsory for primary school children in Ireland

Face masks could be made compulsory for primary school children in Ireland

FACE MASKS could be made mandatory for primary school kids in Ireland should experts all agree on the issue, according to reports.

Schools around the country are set to resume later this week, and a review is currently underway to examine whether or not it's necessary for children to wear face coverings in class.

It's understood that the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) have asked the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) to look into the latest evidence and review the minimum age for wearing masks, which is currently 13-years-old.

A HIQA spokesperson said that they will "provide advice on whether the current minimum age should be reduced," and that they will "shortly publish a protocol outlining what information will be considered."

The advice is expected to be published this week.

A Dublin City University professor of immunology says it will be "too difficult" to implement mandatory mask-wearing in primary schools, as the children are too young.

"We have done brilliantly in secondary schools, and I think it has worked really well," Prof Christine Lochser told Newstalk Breakfast.

"But I think if you look at the age groups that we're talking about, I think that while mask wearing has been proven to be a good de-risker, these children are a population that it's going to be really really impossible to implement anything like that.

"I think that's a really difficult thing to implement in children this small."

It comes as Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan urged children to be careful when mixing with their friends outside school environments.

He also encouraged kids to wash their hands and use sanitiser regularly throughout the school day.

"Considerable preparations have been made to reopen schools safely," Dr Holohan said.

"Our data clearly shows that, to date, the school environment was not a major source of disease transmission.

"In order to go back to school as safely as possible, my advice to children is to wash your hands or use hand sanitiser regularly and follow the protocols operating in your school."