LEO VARADKAR has warned that outbreaks of Covid-19 in Irish schools are "inevitable" once the reopen at the end of the month.
Speaking on RTÉ One's Open for Business series, Mr Varadkar said that despite extensive plans to ensure the safety of all pupils and staff members, coronavirus outbreaks will still be guaranteed.
"I can guarantee you that in a few weeks' time, we're going to see clusters occur in schools," he said.
"It's almost inevitable that if schools open that there will be clusters in some schools. Does that mean that that school did something wrong or the principal was somehow negligent? Probably not.
"I just think we need to maybe raise the understanding among people that this is a highly infectious virus and everyone doing the right thing still means that some people may get the virus."
”I guarantee you that in a few weeks’ time we’re going to see clusters occur in schools.”
Tánaiste, @leovaradkar, sees clusters of infections as inevitable.#OpenForBusinessRTE pic.twitter.com/5xYhJPq2N8
— RTÉ One (@RTEOne) August 11, 2020
Mr Varadkar added that school closures would nonetheless be "further down the list of things that might have to be done to suppress the virus" if a surge was seen during the winter months.
"We've learned a lot about this virus that we didn’t know for example back in March, and we do know that schools, for example, are a lower risk environment than may have been thought at the time," he said.