Foto: Photo News
In the two weeks since the reopening of the Flemish schools, 0.05 percent of all students and 0.05 percent of all staff members have tested positive for the corona virus. This is evident from figures that Flemish Minister of Education Ben Weyts (N-VA) announced on Wednesday. But the differences between the provinces are big.
A total of 638 students and 86 staff members tested positive. The differences between the provinces are large: no less than one third of the total number of infections took place in the province of Antwerp (218 students, 26 staff members), followed by East Flanders (155 students, 20 teachers), Flemish Brabant (90 pupils, 3 teachers), West Flanders (79 pupils, 14 teachers) and Brussels (55 pupils, 8 teachers). The province of Limburg did remarkably well with barely three percent of all infections (41 students and 8 teachers).
As a result of the corona infections, 4,278 students (0.36 percent) and 368 staff (0.22 percent) had to be in home isolation.
“It is still very early to draw big conclusions,” says the cabinet of the minister about the figures. “The virus has an incubation period of about two weeks, so these first figures mainly tell something about the end of the summer vacation. For example, it still seems that most infections were contracted outside the school walls. There also seem to be hardly any cases where teachers are infected by students. ”
All schools started this school year in code yellow. This means that all students of all grades can go to school every day. “Thanks to a close-knit approach, it is possible to switch locally to a higher pandemic level, if this proves necessary on the basis of the local situation,” the government points out. “Education partners have always been keenly aware that there would be contamination in the schools and that students and staff should be quarantined. In case of contamination within the school walls, the CLBs conduct the contact investigation in the schools. ”
“We have to keep a cool head now,” says Weyts. “That means that we must rigorously adhere to the security measures. It also means that everyone must carefully follow the advice of the CLBs and the Agency for Care and Health, without overreacting with extra closures or quarantines. Because then too many people have to be tested, the local healthcare system becomes overloaded and local life disrupted. The schools and the CLBs are working very hard to keep the schools safely open for as many students as possible, but we should definitely not let our attention slip now. ”
Consultable for everyone
Minister Weyts also announced that the figures – which are collected by the CLBs – will now be available to everyone (on onderwijs.vlaanderen.be), where they will be updated every two weeks. “We provide full disclosure about the number of infections and the number of quarantines in schools. To make it clear that something is indeed going on, and that we must all continue to comply with the safety measures, without loosening now. But also to put everything in the right perspective, to nuance it and therefore not to overreact. That is our way of learning to live with Covid and to continue to guarantee the right to education. ”
The education field will meet again on Thursday evening to discuss possible measures for the schools and the CLBs.