Coronavirus: Flanders says it is ‘safer’ to keep pupils in school
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Coronavirus: Flanders says it is ‘safer’ to keep pupils in school

© BELGA/DAVID STOCKMAN

Officials in Flanders want to keep schools in the Dutch-speaking region open, saying schools are the “safest” place for pupils to be even as coronavirus figures in Belgium continue their upward climb.

Flemish Education Minister Ben Weyts said that he wanted to keep code yellow in force in schools and avoid sending students back to distance learning.

“We worked very hard to get schools to open again for all children and we want to keep them open now,” Weyts said in a radio interview on Monday.

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Weyts said schools were doing “an excellent job” in terms of capping the appearance of new infections, “especially when compared to the rest of society.”

“If everyone followed the measures as closely as they do in schools, I think we would be better off at the level of society,” he said.

Cranking schools up to code orange would mean that students would partially return to learning from home, coming to school only every other week.

But Weyts argued that it was better to keep children in the classroom than to risk having them unsupervised at home, De Morgen reports.

“It is an illusion to think that those children are actually at home,” he said. “You better keep them in a controlled environment, that is the safest for everyone and also the best from a pedagogical point of view.”

In mid-September, one school in Machelen, Flanders, activated code orange as a preventative measure as the number of infections in the municipality rose.

In Brussels, the 19 municipal mayors agreed that any move to code orange would be done in a coordinated manner throughout all schools in the capital region.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times