Schools should stay open for now, say educators and scientists

Schoolgirls in Glarus in October Keystone / Gian Ehrenzeller

Compulsory and post-compulsory schools in Switzerland should not be closed immediately because of Covid-19, according to the government’s scientific taskforce and the Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education.

This content was published on January 20, 2021 - 15:38

The conference’s conclusions, which were presented to the government on Wednesday, state that the cantons expect to keep schools open at both primary and secondary level. Closing schools would have a negative impact both on the mental health of children and young people and on their schooling, it said.

For its part, the government said it didn’t plan to take over decision-making when it came to education. “It’s up to the cantons,” Guy Parmelin, who holds the rotating Swiss presidency this year, said at a media conference on Wednesday.

The government’s scientific taskforce believes that distance learning should only be ordered if the epidemiological situation becomes dangerous or very dangerous. And it should be limited to secondary education.

“The measures taken to date have prevented major outbreaks in schools,” Parmelin said. However, further measures may be necessary if new variants of the coronavirus were to spread widely.

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