The figures emerged from a press conference held on Friday morning to analyse the results of a report into the impact covid-19 had at schools in the grand duchy. Laetitia Huiart from the health inspectorate said that only 726 students were placed in quarantine, and just 16 of them later tested positive for covid-19.
She said that data indicates that school should not to be considered a high risk as the number of infections in children and adolescents has developed at the same rate as the rest of society. There have been no uncontrolled cases of infections in schools and no larger clusters emerged, Huiart said.
Infection rate among teaching staff has been similar or even slightly lower than that of the professionally active population, the report concludes. But an increase in prevalence of Covid-19 in the general population did lead to an increase in the number of people testing positive at schools - both students and teachers.
At the international level, there has been little data on the risk of transmission in schools and there is no consensus on the potential role of schools in the transmission of Covid-19. Nevertheless, the school does not appear to be a major propagation environment, the report says.
Education minister Claude Meisch (DP) reiterated that the pandemic is very likely to last. For the new school year starting on 15 September, Meisch said the aim of the authorities was “to guarantee the maximum right to education and the maximum security for pupils and teachers. We need clear rules to make schools work as normally as possible.”
A policy of stringent health measures is being adopted, but the ministry wants to minimise negative effects on student’s ability to learn and on their mental, emotional and social well-being. Meisch said that the ministry aims to have a maximum presence of students in class, in compliance with the necessary health measures. The ministry is going to set up a system of support measures for students who need them. It will also implement enhanced distance learning for vulnerable students who cannot physically attend school.
But raising awareness of hygiene rules among children and youngsters was also vital, as well as making sure parents are aware of what to do in the event of their child showing symptoms of Covid-19.
A flexible approach at local level will also allow the authorities to react swiftly to cope with the evolution of the disease by quarantining individual class if someone tests positive and even closing entire buildings if necessary.