70 doctors in open letter to Ben Weyts: ‘Abolish mandatory mouth mask at school’ – Belgium

In an open letter to the Flemish Minister of Education Ben Weyts (N-VA), 70 doctors ask to abolish the mandatory mouth mask at school, both for the teachers and for the students. Weyts does not intend to change course.

The doctors ask that Minister Ben Weyts immediately reverses his working method: no mouth mask obligation at school, only protect the risk group and only the advice that people with a possible risk profile should consult their doctor.

Complaints

The decision to introduce a mandatory mouth mask at school for pupils from the age of 12 is of great concern to the signatories, mainly GPs.

‘In recent months, the general well-being of children and young people has come under severe pressure. We see in our practices an increasing number of children and young people with complaints due to the rules of conduct that have been imposed on them. We diagnose anxiety and sleep problems, behavioral disorders and fear of contamination. We are seeing an increase in domestic violence, isolation and deprivation. Many lack physical and emotional contact; attachment problems and addiction are obvious. ‘

‘The mandatory mouth mask in schools is a major threat to their development. It ignores the essential needs of the growing child. The well-being of children and young people is highly dependent on the emotional connection with others. (…) The aim of education is to create an optimal context so that a maximum development of young people is possible. The school environment must be a safe practice field. The mouth mask obligation, on the other hand, makes the school a threatening and unsafe environment, where emotional connection becomes difficult. ‘

In addition, according to the signatories, ‘there is no large-scale evidence that wearing face masks in a non-professional environment has any positive effect on the spread of viruses, let alone on general health. Nor is there any legal basis for implementing this obligation. In the meantime, it is clear that healthy children who undergo covid-19 heal as standard without complications and that they subsequently contribute to the protection of their fellow humans by increasing group immunity. ‘

The only meaningful measure to prevent serious illness and mortality from covid-19 is to isolate individual teachers and individual children at risk. This risk assessment is not the task of the Ministry of Education, but the task of the treating doctors in consultation with their patient. ‘

Weyts: Not relevant

Minister Weyts does not intend to change course. ‘We have done everything we can to get the schools to start in code yellow. To this end, we have been able to conclude an agreement with virologists and the educational field. The mouth mask obligation was part of this. Not a nice decision, but necessary to be able to organize it safely for students and teachers. If you remove one element from the agreement after one week, the whole discussion will start again, ‘said the education minister.

‘Especially with the current rising rates of infection, virologists risk reacting negatively, which worries parents, students and teachers and threatens to drop out. Now let us respect the agreement that we have all made. As soon as it can be done safely, I will be the first to abolish the mouth mask obligation ‘.

The doctors ask that Minister Ben Weyts immediately reverses his working method: no mouth mask obligation at school, only protect the risk group and only the advice that people with a possible risk profile should consult their doctor. The decision to introduce a mandatory mouth mask at school for pupils from the age of 12 is of great concern to the signatories, mainly GPs. ‘In recent months, the general well-being of children and young people has come under severe pressure. We see in our practices an increasing number of children and young people with complaints due to the rules of conduct that have been imposed on them. We diagnose anxiety and sleep problems, behavioral disorders and fear of contamination. We are seeing an increase in domestic violence, isolation and deprivation. Many lack physical and emotional contact; attachment problems and addiction are obvious. ‘ ‘The mandatory mouth mask in schools is a major threat to their development. It ignores the essential needs of the growing child. The well-being of children and young people is highly dependent on the emotional connection with others. (…) The aim of education is to create an optimal context so that a maximum development of young people is possible. The school environment must be a safe practice field. The mouth mask obligation, on the other hand, makes the school a threatening and unsafe environment, where emotional connection becomes difficult. ‘ In addition, according to the signatories, ‘there is no large-scale evidence that wearing face masks in a non-professional environment has any positive effect on the spread of viruses, let alone on general health. Nor is there any legal basis for implementing this obligation. In the meantime, it is clear that healthy children undergoing covid-19 heal by default without complications and that they subsequently contribute to the protection of their fellow humans by increasing herd immunity. ” The only meaningful measure to prevent serious illness and mortality from Covid-19 is the isolation of individual teachers and individual children at risk. This risk assessment is not the task of the Ministry of Education, but the task of the treating doctors in consultation with their patient. ‘ Minister Weyts does not intend to change course. ‘We have done everything we can to get the schools to start in code yellow. To this end, we have been able to conclude an agreement with virologists and the educational field. The mouth mask obligation was part of this. Not a nice decision, but necessary to be able to organize it safely for students and teachers. If you remove one element from the agreement after one week, the whole discussion will start again, ‘said the education minister. ‘Especially with the current rising rates of infection, virologists risk reacting negatively, which worries parents, students and teachers and threatens to drop out. Now let us respect the agreement that we have all made. As soon as it can be done safely, I will be the first to abolish the mouth mask obligation ‘.

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