Coronavirus: Has back to school increased the number of new cases?

Since the resumption of classes in Code Red on November 16, the coronavirus contamination figures are going in the right direction for the 0-19 age group. There are also fewer teachers affected by the virus. Our analysis is based on figures from the One (birth and childhood office) for the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.

Fifteen days after the start of the school year on November 16, a first assessment can be made regarding the school’s impact on the coronavirus epidemic. Since the resumption of classes in code red, the contamination figures are going in the right direction. We relied on figures from One (birth and childhood office) for the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.

As a reminder, the Wallonia-Brussels Federation has more than 800,000 students and 100,000 teachers.

We have a resumption of the decrease, explains Yves Van Laethem

The week of November 16 to 22, 574 cases from COVID-19 at school have been reported, including 421 among students of all levels and 153 among education staff. Figures 13 times lower than at the end of October (7811 cases, of which 5271 among the students and 1876 among the staff).

Since the resumption of Monday, November 16, we first observed a certain stagnation of cases in the 0-19 age group. This stagnation cannot, of course, be linked to the recovery as it takes a number of days to have an impact. Currently, we have a resumption of the decrease. It is light, but it covers all the age groups which are between 20 and 60 years old. They are steadily decreasing“, detailed Yves Van Laethemspokesperson interfederal of the fight against Covid19, on Bel RTL.

A “manageable” situation

The number of reported school cases is similar to that in mid-September. With certain regional variations, it is a little higher in the provinces of Hainaut and Namur than in mid-September, and a little lower in the other provinces.

The number of infections among students has also decreased slightly over the past 15 days, as is the case for the older age groups which correspond to parents or teachers. There are currently far fewer teachers affected by the covid until the end of October.

We have cases but it’s manageable

The two-week fall holidays and distance education on October 28, 29 and 30 for secondary school therefore had a significant impact on the number of cases at school.

The leave lasted a fortnight, or even a little longer for some. This obviously made it possible to remove a series of difficulties. Either teachers who were sick have since recovered or all quarantines have been lifted for a large number of students and staff. This allowed us to ‘almost’ reset the counters to zero. They are not quite zero, we are generally in the same situation as in mid-September. So we have cases, but currently it’s manageable“, clarified Julien Nicaise, general administrator of Wallonie Bruxelles Teaching.

Fewer school absentees

Since the start of the school year, absenteeism has also returned to completely controllable values. At the height of the second wave at the end of October, the situation was much more catastrophic.

400 staff members are absent, either because of the covid, either because they are in quarantine, or because they are at risk. It is much less. We were over 3,000 just before the break. Things are much more manageable at the moment“, explained Julien Nicaise, general administrator of Wallonie Bruxelles Teaching.

The school would therefore not be a major vector of the epidemic, according to the first observations. But can we already draw this conclusion?

On does believe that this is not a significant impact, but we will have some confirmation of that next week since we will be largely at the end of the 15 days after the recovery. And we will be able to see if, in the context where this is practically the only difference that has taken place, we have an impact of the resumption of primary school“, detailed Yves Van Laethemspokesperson interfederal of the fight against Covid19.

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