Canton Bern to close schools early amid COVID surge
Due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Switzerland, particularly among young people, some schools are deciding to start the Christmas holidays early to slow down the spread. With most child vaccinations only due to start in January, there is concern schools may become the primary vector for infection.
Schools close early for Christmas amid COVID spike
Described as an “early Christmas vacation” by Tages-Anzeiger, Canton Bern and Canton Aargau have decided to end their school term a few days in advance. Classes in Bern are to be dismissed on December 17, four days earlier than expected, after what Virginie Masserey from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) described as an “uncertain and worrying” epidemiological development among young people.
According to data from the FOPH, children aged zero to 19 have the highest number of COVID infections per head of population in Switzerland at the moment. The head of education in Bern and Aargau wanted to stem the rising infections by “interrupting the chain of transmission.”
Delayed return expected in some Swiss schools
Along with closing schools earlier, some cantons have announced a delayed start to next year’s term. Nidwalden is delaying its school start to January 6, three days later than planned. There is also a push towards online learning in some areas, like the council (Gemeinde) of Sachseln which has been using online teaching for several weeks already.
In response to the rise in cases among young people, Christoph Berger, President of the Vaccination Commission, announced, “All parents who want to have their children vaccinated can do so soon," but clarified that this may not start until January. Until then he has announced that children under the age of 12 who have serious illnesses or live with someone who is high risk can already come forward for the jab.