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Despite the dissatisfaction and indignation of the parents, the government decided not to change the previously adopted decree on the mandatory use of masks by students in grades 1-4 during school hours. According to representatives of the Ministry of Health, due to the significant spread of Covid-19 in Latvia, wearing masks in schools is necessary for all participants in the educational process.
On January 25, full-time education in primary school will resume, during which both teachers and students from grades 1 to 4 will have to wear masks during and outside lessons.
During lessons in educational institutions, children and teachers are indoors for at least 40 minutes. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control indicates that there is a high risk of infection in this situation. It means that distancing measures in schools are clearly not enough to limit the spread of the virus, experts explain.
Health experts emphasize that wearing masks does not negatively affect children’s health, on the contrary, it protects them not only from Covid-19, but also from other pathogens and allergens.
In addition, it should be borne in mind that when using masks in schools, the likelihood that one of the children will fall ill is reduced, and it will be necessary to organize studies remotely or postpone studies due to isolation or home quarantine, the Ministry of Health emphasizes.
The requirement for children from six years old to use masks in schools has already been introduced in a number of other European countries: for example, in Luxembourg, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria. While in Malta and Greece, protective masks must be used from the age of four.
Observations show that in countries where mask wearing in schools is voluntary, such as Estonia, Lithuania, Sweden and Denmark, the incidence continues to rise. But in countries where masks in schools are mandatory, and this is Italy, France, Austria, Hungary, Romania, the incidence is decreasing.
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