Omicron send thousands of uninfected students and their parents into quarantine

A shorter quarantine period for schoolchildren could reduce the shortage of parents.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: SITA)

One infected pupil in a classroom sends 25 classmates and 25 working parents into quarantine. Parents receive the benefit for the care of a family member (OČR in Slovak) in this case.

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The rule that states after detecting a positive case in the classroom in-person education for the whole classroom stops should protect the other children from the further spread of the infection, avoiding the suspension of in-person education in the entire school.

This rule, however, cannot stop the infection of pupils with the Omicron variant. “The problem of the Omicron variant lies in the fact that practically no person can avoid it and a large number of children will be infected at once,” said paediatrician Kristína Visolajská.

The rule on the closure of the whole classroom with one positive case will speed up the closure of schools, said analysts from the project Data Without Pathos.

“This will occur despite the fact that most of the children will be fine, some will not even be positive,” Data Without Pathos claimed. Uninfected pupils cannot be educated in the classroom in that case, if they are not fully vaccinated or they have not recently recovered from Covid.

Even if there are such pupils, most of the schools do not have the capacity to educate part of the classroom in person and the other part online.

About 5.6 percent of pupils of primary schools are vaccinated in Slovakia, translating to 32,000 out of 539,000 children between the ages of five and 14.

The Education Ministry's data and the Sme daily's calculations show that at the beginning of last week, there were on average 12 uninfected pupils in each of the 1,233 closed classrooms. These kids, however, could not continue in-person education.

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Overall, there are about 15,000 uninfected pupils who could not attend in-person education in schools and one of their parents had to stay at home with each of them.

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