Covid-19 infections in Flemish schools are increasing twice as fast as in Brussels Dutch-speaking schools, according to figures from the centres for pupil guidance, reported by Bruzz.
In response, wearing face masks was made compulsory again on Wednesday for students in their fifth and sixth year once they return from autumn break.
That rule never disappeared in Brussels, where students have continued to wear masks.
Coronavirus infections across the country are on the rise, including in primary education.
“If you establish that three quarters of the coronavirus infections in education can be attributed to primary education, then you have to take action there,” said Flemish Minister of Education Ben Weyts (N-VA) on Radio 1 on Thursday morning.
Weyts defended the reintroduction of the mask obligation in the fifth and sixth year, a measure already in force in the Dutch-speaking schools of Brussels due to higher Covid-19 cases and lower vaccination rates in the Belgian capital.
Infection rates in the Brussels Dutch-speaking schools have risen more slowly than in Flanders, according to figures over the past few weeks.
In the week of 18 to 24 October, an increase of 44 percent in the number of infections in schools was recorded in Brussels, while that number rose by 83 percent in Flanders in the same week.
Weyts doesn’t believe a comparison isn’t logical: “The situation in Flanders and Brussels isn’t comparable but there are indeed less infections to note,” his spokesperson said.
Karin Struys, responsible for communication of the Community Education (GO!) in Brussels, would agree.
“You can only partially substantiate the impact of the face masks in Brussels and in Flanders,” Struys told Bruzz. “The suspicion that Flanders looked to Brussels [in making the decision to reimpose masks] is there, but there is no direct evidence for this.”