Coronavirus shuts down three Brussels schools ahead of autumn break
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Coronavirus shuts down three Brussels schools ahead of autumn break

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Three schools in Brussels have shut down this week because too many staff members have been put out of action by the new coronavirus.

A primary school in Jette and another one in Schaerbeek, both Dutch-speaking, announced on Thursday that they were closing down after infections were confirmed among employees.

The Sint-Lukas primary school in Schaerbeek, near Gare du Nord, said it will remain closed until next Monday after one teacher tested positive.

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“As there is a high risk for much of our team, we are forced to take a drastic decision and close the school for the next two days,” the school said in a statement to parents.

In Jette, the Sint-Pieterscollege told parents it would also close down all classes except one and the kindergarten section until next week after several teachers and staff members came down with Covid-19, Bruzz reports.

Both school’s closures come around a week before the autumn school break, which in French-speaking schools have been extended in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus among staff.

Flemish education officials ruled that all Dutch-speaking schools in Brussels and Flanders would switch to code orange, the second-highest risk scenario, upon return from the week-long autumn break.

Earlier in the week, a French-speaking secondary school in the municipality of Etterbeek shut down for a week after too many of its staff members contracted the virus.

“We don’t have enough teachers and educators anymore,” a school teacher said. “Too many staff members are sick or in quarantine because of Covid-19.”

At the start of October and in late September, two other schools were also forced to shut down as mandatory quarantines among staff led them to struggle with understaffing.

All schools said they were switching to distance learning for the time being, with some continuing to provide daycare services for parents or caretakers who had no other alternatives.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times