Schools should remain in code yellow, Flemish education minister says
Tuesday, 06 October 2020
Schools should remain in code yellow as much as possible, Flemish Minister for Education Ben Weyts said on Tuesday.
Weyts made this appeal on the occasion of the Consultation Committee, which met on Tuesday. “All pupils of all ages should be able to continue attending school as much as possible”, he said.
After an initial meeting on Monday evening, the new federal government will once again met with the federated entities on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the corona situation.
The colour barometer, which should link actions against the virus to a phase in the epidemic, may be a while away. Government circles are told that the system must first be fully up to date.
However, Flemish Education Minister Ben Weyts t0ok the opportunity to emphasise that education – which has been working with its own colour codes for some time now – should as far as possible remain on code yellow, as is currently the case.
That level indicates a low risk of infection, as a result of which children in nursery and primary education can always go to school full-time, and pupils in secondary, part-time art and adult education are also expected to attend school five days a week, albeit with a face mask.
According to Weyts, the number of corona infections detected in schools is currently lower than expected and, moreover, they are often the result of contacts outside the school walls. “Within the schools, everything is well monitored,” said Weyts. “Incredible efforts are being made to organise it safely, and that’s working well.
Moreover, switching to code orange, which entails a moderate risk of contamination, has little impact on primary education, Weyts pointed out. Children in nursery and primary education and in the first grade of secondary education are still expected to attend school five days a week.
Pupils in the second and third grades of secondary education, part-time art education and adult education may only have to go to school every other week, but “it’s an illusion to think that those pupils will all be sitting at home,” according to the minister. “We will have less control over pupils who sit at home, and they will be at greater risk of infection outside school.