“Organisational challenges” in schools because of illnesses

The education ministry is hiring around 200 staff to help fill gaps because of coronavirus infections Library photo: Romain Gamba / Maison Moderne

The education ministry is hiring around 200 staff to help fill gaps because of coronavirus infections Library photo: Romain Gamba / Maison Moderne

Nearly 400 teachers are currently in isolation because of a positive covid-19 test result, the education ministry confirmed to Delano, saying the absences pose “big organisational challenges.”

RTL on Wednesday reported that around 15% of teaching staff are currently off sick, with the education ministry confirming to Delano that 162 primary school teachers are isolating because of covid-19 in addition to 356 cases of sick leave for other reasons. At secondary school level, 398 teachers are absent, 236 because of a coronavirus infection and 162 other sicknesses.

“Additional staff was hired at the start of the year and their contracts have been extended until April,” a spokesperson said in an email. Around 200 people are in the process of being recruited, the ministry said.

“The education ministry is currently in daily exchange with management to keep an eye on the situation,” the spokeswoman said, adding that face-to-face teaching is not currently threatened.

However, class trips abroad have been cancelled. “The risk that a person is tested covid positive during a trip abroad cannot be excluded. In this case, the group would have to quarantine abroad and couldn’t travel back.”

In addition, staff becoming sick on a trip could mean that pupils are left without supervision. The ministry had recommended to schools cancel all trips outside the country involving an overnight stay.

Nearly 11,000 teachers work in Luxembourg, including 4,500 at secondary level and 6,300 at primary school level.

The government on Wednesday presented plans to cut the isolation period for people who tested positive for covid-19 from 10 days to six days for people who are vaccinated, including a booster dose.

Prime minister Xavier Bettel (DP) during a press conference said that in light of rising infection numbers the move is necessary to prevent certain sectors from collapsing. The proposals remain to be approved by parliament.