Back to school full time after holidays, but with mandatory masking

Back to school full time after holidays, but with mandatory masking
Credit: Laurie Dieffembacq/Belga

On 10 January, secondary school students will return to school full time, but masks will be mandatory in primary education until at least 28 January, and multi-day excursions remain prohibited.

Schools say they aren’t surprised by the extension of current measures, according to De Standaard.

“In the evolution of the infection data in the schools, the virologists clearly see scientific evidence for a favourable effect of wearing the mouth masks in primary school,” said a spokesperson from the Flemish Catholic education sector (Katholiek Onderwijs Vlaanderen).

“We are glad that this unpopular measure worked. The umbrella organisation is now asking for a plan to speed up the administration of booster vaccinations to twelve to eighteen-year-olds.”

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Flanders’ Minister of Education Ben Weyts said that a solution was found to enforce the mask obligation in primary education after a judgment of the Council of State made it clear that there was no legal framework to impose such a rule.

“The loophole will be closed by a Royal Decree. That is the quickest and most logical arrangement,” his cabinet said.

The creation of a barometer is also being considered, in order to breathe new life into the colour codes currently in place.

“For each colour there would then be a basic package of measures and clear criteria for switching. If a barometer were to be set up in the wider society, it is evident that education is already being considered,” said Weyts’ cabinet.

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