A group of concerned parents have penned an open letter to Minister of Education Claude Meisch, expressing worries over the Covid situation in schools.

Dear Claude Meisch,

We are a group of concerned parents belonging to an organised Facebook group called ‘Covid in Schools - Luxembourg’, having 850 members, in one week.  We are writing this letter so that you can hopefully address our concerns and worries regarding the current evolution of Covid 19 in our children’s schools.

At this moment, parents are very worried: reality seems and feels very different from the latest report presented.

It is time for more transparency about it, and the number of cases and the places where they occur need to be communicated in time, not finding out afterwards through private channels. Parents need to make information-based choices provided by a reliable source, otherwise rumours and panic spread. We have an unique chance in Luxembourg to set an example for other European countries.

We kindly ask you to publish the infection rates per school as the European School does, on your Facebook-page, or via email. Withholding information will only create distrust within the population and that will backfire as people will resent the government. The update of the state of affairs in Luxembourg schools comes too late for many parents when being informed that their child is involved in a class with a COVID case. Especially for parents who are vulnerable or parents having vulnerable children, this situation is not reassuring.

We kindly ask that some solutions be implemented right away, such as, for example:

1. Hiring cleaners to keep the schools and Maisons Relais / Foyer de Jour clean, use the European School as an example where they have regular cleaning and disinfecting of the premises which is off course NOT the responsibility of the teachers, who should be focusing on their work rather than cleaning and disinfecting.

2. Testing the Maison Relais / Foyer de Jour and School staff more frequently and instituting more checks on the private organisations. Something must be done to ensure that the staff are regularly tested and regularly kept up to date of the evolution of the infections so they know how important their position in the chain is. Letters for an 'obligation to quarantine and testing' concerning pupils are being received many days too late. This is unacceptable for the safety in school.

3. A particular point of concern is also the status of vulnerable children, as well as children with vulnerable parents, who seem to have be forgotten since September.

Although distance learning is working very well in some schools, it is NOT done properly in some others, so they really are left behind. Education should be a right for all. Please ensure that distance learning is done in a uniform manner across the board.

4. We also want to insist on children living in a household with one or more vulnerable people. The PM mentioned the importance of protecting vulnerable people and this can only happen if family members are also given the option to stay at home. Once that option is available it should be assured that the level of teaching given is the same without any variations per school or teacher.

5. A solution has to be found for the huge problem of school buses. Buses are packed, windows are closed, children sitting one next to the other, many of them not wearing masks or wearing them not correctly. This is more risky than the time spent in school classes.

6. Please convince all the schools that masks do work and everyone should be wearing them.

7. Please obligate schools to ventilate the classrooms or invest in a better ventilation system. Ventilation has proven to reduce the transmission risk.

8. We would as well kindly ask that you take into consideration the results of a recent poll launched three days ago, and integrate them in your strategy. Asked what kind of measures they would like to see in their children’s schools in order for them to consider the place “as safe as possible”, the parents answered and proposed as follows:

A. · Return to A/B Groups eventually with Streaming from School or working via Teams during the B week.

B. · School end at 13 to avoid lunch breaks for those High schools that end at 14.00 (no hours would be lost).

C. · Mask mandatory in all high schools (not left to the choice of the single Directors).

D. · Distance between desks to be kept at maximum where possible.

E. · No rotating classes or deep disinfection of the desk and materials between classes that use the same room and no mixing classes for second third languages ecc. ( this could create new jobs).

F. · Prolonging the upcoming holidays of one week to break current chain infections.

G. · Possibility of keeping Distance Learning for those students/families that want/can afford to (giving the choice). This reduces students in class.

H. · Vulnerable Students and their siblings to be allowed to distance learning and distance evaluation.

I. · Air purifiers

J. · Isolation of the classes at home from day 1 of a positive case with Streaming Lessons to avoid possible further spread and Isolation of the classes if a Professor tested positive and had contact in the 7 previous days (not only 2-3).

K. · Keep the current system

L. · Back to distance learning

M. · Reduction of the Canteen and at Maison Relais tables as per ‘Horeca rules’.

N. · No inside sports

O. · Sport same rules as in general population.

Hoping that our concerns and kind requests will be heard and dealt with, we look forward to your answer to our queries.

Many thanks.

Best regards,

Group 'Covid in Schools - Luxembourg’ (858 members)