By: Sara Rančigaj
In Odmevi, RTV Slovenia presented an example of schools in Berlin area, where 60 schools remain open. In the mentioned article, the media thus shows how certain schools decided to remain open despite the epidemic. In the mentioned schools, all the time, both the principals and the teachers and students adhered to the measures, thus limiting the transmission of infections, and also taking great care of the ventilation of the premises with additional ventilation devices. According to the head of the advisory group for covid-19 Bojana Beović, we have wasted this opportunity in Slovenia. While influencers, the media, political activists, and principals were against wearing masks in schools, the virus spread. “The problem was the principals and teachers who opposed the measures,” explains Beović, who believes they witnessed a completely different picture in Germany.
According to German hospitals, there are very few cases of the disease in children. According to the Robert Koch Institute, the overall infection rate among children is only 0.2 percent. The authorities there thus believe that half-classes or the closure of schools do not make sense in their case. There are 60 schools open in Berlin’s Neukölln district, and the infection has been detected in 132 students and 56 teachers. They believe that schools and kindergartens are not a source of infections, as they are supposed to be brought from outside, so they decided to leave schools open.
With the question of whether something like this would be possible in our country, we turned to the head of the advisory group for covid-19 Bojana Beović. Beović emphasised that with the epidemiological picture we have witnessed in recent weeks, this could have even more serious consequences. As she says, schools closed when they detected a high increase in infections among teachers. “We didn’t have a high proportion of sick children per se, but we did have a high rate of infections among employees. In the care of vulnerable groups, we decided to go home from school for a certain period of time so that the situation would calm down,” explained Beović.
As can be seen in the German case shown by RTV, only 56 teachers in 60 schools fell ill. Beović believes that such a difference in sick employees is in all probability due to the observance of the rules in Germany. “Look, in Slovenia we witnessed propaganda against wearing masks in schools and for non-compliance with measures by the media, the so-called influencers, and this group also included school principals,” explains the head of the advisory group. According to Beović, children were not among the most problematic groups, as they respected the measures to the greatest extent. “The problem was principals and teachers who opposed the measures,” she adds.
In addition to the fact that we want to protect people who belong to the vulnerable group to the greatest extent, the problem of overcoming covid-19 disease in children is another factor in why schools in Slovenia have closed. “During the epidemic, we also detected more serious forms of the disease in older children, which expressed concern and forced us to decide to close schools,” explains Beović.
Part of the open German schools implements strict measures and ventilates the schools abundantly
In the above-mentioned schools in Germany, the authorities have purchased ventilation devices with which they ventilate the premises and also take care of open windows. Children have to wear masks all the time during class, and in the future they are still thinking about introducing so-called covid-19 rapid tests at school. Opening schools remains a priority and they have been willing to give up everything else because of it.
Beović agrees that the period is currently difficult for both parents and a certain proportion of children who are currently unable to attend school and have to be educated from home. “But even this period will pass once we calm down the epidemic, and the children will return to school,” she explains. Epidemiologists thus believe that at this time it is much safer for children to have school at home. However, while children at home do not even need to wear masks, they do already miss their classmates very much.