Pupils: ‘In the train the mouth guard is compulsory, why not in the classroom?

After almost half a year the first high school students were back in class this week. Because after months of home schooling and the summer holidays, the schools in the north reopened completely.

Pupils are often not very afraid of becoming ill themselves, but they do fear that they will infect family members at home, notes student organization LAKS in the questions they receive.

“I’m worried that there are so many people walking around you here,” says a student on the first day of school. “It’s pretty crazy that you don’t have to wear a mouth guard here. On the train, for example, it’s compulsory, but why not in the classroom?”, says another.

CCeit Stories looked into the contagiousness of young people, the wearing of mouth masks in schools and the importance of good ventilation.

This week, a number of secondary schools in the north decided to introduce a mouthguard requirement. Everybody who walks in the hallway or takes a break in between classes has to wear one. Also some schools in the south, where the schools open on Mondays, want to work with mouth caps.

Half on

This week students from the Mendelcollege in Haarlem went to school with mouth caps. “The entire staff wanted mouth caps, so that it would be safer at school,” says rector Jan-Mattijs Heinemeijer. Pupils understand the decision. “I understand that it has to be done, but it’s annoying”, someone says. But there are also doubts. “I don’t know how much sense it makes, honestly. A lot of people only put it half on.”

According to school organisations LAKS, the main concern is the spread of the virus through the ventilation systems in schools. Minister Slob (Education) has therefore set up a national team to help schools get the ventilation system up and running as soon as possible.

Drifting force

“In schools, the distribution can indeed take place. This is also reflected in a number of studies. But they are not a driving force in the spread of the virus”, emphasised De Jonge.

If you stick to the basic rules, he said, the risks of propagation in the classroom are small. “Zero risks are not there, but the risk of severely restricted education is also not small,” said De Jonge.