Over two weeks 1,620 students infected: ‘Especially in the g …

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Over the past two weeks, 1,620 students have taken a positive covid test. 286 teachers were also infected. This is evident from the new figures from the centers for pupil guidance (CLB).

Since the start of the school year, 2,258 students have been infected with the corona virus. Most of those infections took place in the past two weeks. Between 14 and 27 September, 1,620 students were infected. 11,259 students had to be quarantined in the past two weeks. The figures have been collected by the pupil guidance centers (CLBs). The CLB is responsible for the contact investigation in the schools.

Figures were first released two weeks ago. It then turned out that 638 students and 86 teachers became infected with COVID-19. 4,646 children and adults had already been quarantined at that time. Although the percentages are relatively very low (0.14 percent of the students became infected in the last two weeks, 0.17 percent of the teachers), the numbers are clearly on the rise.

Increase

Despite the increase, the CLBs and Minister of Education Ben Weyts (N-VA) are cautiously positive. “Just like in the rest of society, we see more infections and more quarantines, but the schools are not a major source of infections: neither for students, nor for teachers,” said the education minister. ‘These figures strengthen my belief that we should keep schools open.’

‘Schools must certainly continue to adhere to the safety measures,’ says Stefan Grielens of the Vrij CLB Network. ‘If schools ventilate sufficiently and respect the basic rules, the contamination within the school walls seems to be not too bad.’

For the time being there is no further research into clusters in schools. It is also impossible, according to the Weyts cabinet, to make a division between primary and secondary education.

Antwerp outlier

The CLBs do ask infected students why they had themselves tested. ‘This shows that in most situations the cause is a positive case in the family’, says Grielens. ‘Second is having symptoms, and only then – a relatively small group – does the testing follow after the student has been quarantined himself.’

There are major regional differences. Almost half of all infections took place in the province of Antwerp – both among the students and the teachers. For pupils this is 45 percent (737 out of 1,620), for teachers it is 43 percent of all cases in Flanders (123 of 286). ‘We see a lot of infections, especially in the big cities,’ says Grielens of the CLB. The CLBs in Ghent, Brussels and Antwerp have been very busy in recent weeks. ‘The pressure is great there’, Grielens confirms.





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