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Facemasks called for in Flemish primary schools

A child in a medical mask during a coronavirus pandemic. Credit: WIkipedia

The Flemish socialist trade union, ACOD, is calling for face masks to be made compulsory in primary schools, especially in the fifth and sixth grades, now that a more contagious strain of the novel Coronavirus is threatening Belgium, Het Laatste Nieuws reported on Saturday.

“It’s better than having to close schools again,” the organisation said.

Education stakeholders meet on Saturday with virologists to study the situation. They are particularly worried about the new strain of the virus, which is reportedly 70% more contagious than the first and is said to spread among children, too.

The socialist trade union stressed the need to focus on safety. “With this threat we should no longer hesitate,” said ACOD’s Nancy Liberty. “The face mask has to be made compulsory in primary schools, especially in fifth and sixth grades. For the younger ones, it can be strongly recommended.”

The Christian trade union is also paying close attention to the issue.

Flemish Education Minister Ben Weyts (Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie, N-VA) was not in favour of precipitated action. “The virologists are still examining the need for additional measures,” he said. “We are going to study what needs to be done.”

The Brussels Times