Pupils could drop masks from September, Meisch says
Luxembourg schools should be able to re-open after the summer holidays without pupils having to wear masks, Education Minister Claude Meisch has said, making it contingent on the virus spread at the time.
Meisch is optimistic this could be done at least in secondary schools given that vaccinations are now starting for those aged 12 and above, he said in an interview with broadcaster RTL on Monday morning, ahead of the summer holidays starting in mid-July.
Mask mandates could be used occasionally in places where infections occur, he said. It is however too early to drop all restrictions and protective measures now, as an infection chain of the more transmissible Delta variant was identified in a school in Frisange in the south of the country.
Some methods, such as digital learning and various communication platforms could still be used after the pandemic, Meisch added. Since the beginning of the crisis in March last year, education has switched back and forth between remote learning and physical presence depending on the virus spread.
Luxembourg is currently winning the fight against the pandemic, with only a handful of people testing positive out of several thousand tests on average, which has led the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) to classify Luxembourg as a low-risk zone as of Friday last week.
The Grand Duchy, with a population of around 630,000, has so far administered more than 512,000 doses, of which 316,000 are first doses and 196,000 second doses or fully vaccinated, as the campaign picked up speed after a sluggish start that saw the country underperform compared to its peers.
Luxembourg is now among the EU countries with the most doses administered per capita, but is still somewhat behind leaders Malta and Belgium, and Germany and Spain, according to the Our World in Data website.
The Grand Duchy is awaiting the results of a study by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on whether to allow second doses from a different type of vaccine, which might grant more flexibility in the country's vaccination drive.