87% of teachers vaccinated, says minister

The government is yet to unveil its back-to-school strategy for the 2021-2022 school year Photo: Romain Gamba / Maison Moderne

The government is yet to unveil its back-to-school strategy for the 2021-2022 school year Photo: Romain Gamba / Maison Moderne

The majority of teachers are fully vaccinated, with around half of pupils aged 12 or over also having received their anti-coronavirus jabs, education minister Claude Meisch (DP) said on social media.

The government is currently preparing the start of the school year with fears that the spread of the Delta variant could hamper the return to the classroom.

The education minister in a tweet said that 87% of teachers have been fully vaccinated against covid-19 in addition to half of pupils aged 12 or over. There is currently no vaccine authorised in the EU for children under the age of 12.

“Every day more students, parents, siblings, teachers and educators are getting vaccinated,” Meisch said. “A collective commitment for a safe rentrée 21/22.”

Before the summer holiday Luxembourg’s schools mandated masks be worn in the classroom by children aged six or over. Upper secondary classes worked in hybrid mode, switching between remote and classroom teaching, to minimise the risk of infection but also to reduce the number of students circulating on school transport and in schools.

In addition to that, there was regular self-testing supervised by teachers--or parents at home for younger pupils--to help diagnose infections early.

In accordance with the Luxembourg school system, classes resume on 15 September and the government is expected to present its back-to-school strategy in the coming week. Previously, after the school holidays school staff and students were invited to get tested before the “rentrée” as a preventative measure.

The government in its latest weekly virus report listed foreign travel as the most common source of infection, overtaking the family circle. Prime minister Xavier Bettel (DP) during a press conference on Wednesday said that cases should continue rising as people return from vacation.

Luxembourg’s infectious diseases council (CSMI) on 17 August warned of rising infection rates among young, unvaccinated age groups, saying that they require intensive care in some cases and can develop a long-term illness, the so-called long-covid.

“Appropritate mitigation measures” are needed in schools, the CSMI said.

The government’s chief medical officer, Jean-Claude Schmit, during an interview with RTL on 24 August said a fourth virus wave in the autumn and winter is likely, although infections will probably be less severe with fewer deaths, because of vaccinations.