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HEALTH

Coronavirus: Schools in Basel to re-open on Monday

Authorities in Basel City and Basel Country have decided that schools in the cantons will open again on Monday, March 9th.

Coronavirus: Schools in Basel to re-open on Monday
Basel University Hospital. Image: By Taxiarchos228, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Schools in both Basel cantons – currently on school holidays – are set to reopen on March 9th.

Education authorities met on Thursday to discuss whether or not they should be re-opened at all due to coronavirus concerns. 

As at Thursday afternoon, there were eight confirmed infections in Basel City and three in Basel Country

School holiday periods differ from canton to canton. The decision on closing schools is up to cantonal authorities. 

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In Switzerland's southern neighbour Italy, authorities on Wednesday decided to close all schools and universities

Will Basel’s schools reopen on Monday?

Authorities in Basel City met late on Wednesday, deciding that schools across the canton will remain open. Kids in both cantons are set to go back from school holidays on Monday. 

This decision was approved on Thursday by a meeting of the Basel City Crisis Committee.

A similar meeting took place on Thursday between authorities from Basel Country, where authorities said schools would reopen on Monday as scheduled.

As reported by The Local Switzerland on Wednesday, any decision on whether to close schools takes into account both public health concerns as well as the potential impacts for parents who would need to find alternative means of caring for their children. 

Avoiding school closures where possible

The policy across Switzerland is to avoid shutting schools where possible, saying that closures, generally speaking, do more harm than good. As reported in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, this is not only the policy of the federal government but of all 26 cantons. 

READ: Two Swiss high school classes quarantined over coronavirus

Instead, schools have sought to emphasise the importance of hygiene. The Zurich Directorate of Education has printed a leaflet which is available in six languages on how to wash hands effectively and other measures that can curb the spread of the virus. 

Some school authorities have been asked by parents whether students live at home with grandparents or people with autoimmune conditions should continue to attend, however they have reiterated that this is an individual matter which should be discussed with doctors. 

Children are not at a particular risk

Authorities have been careful to reiterate that although all necessary measures should be taken to prevent the spread, the evidence as yet is that children are not at a particularly risk of catching the virus – unlike older people and the unwell. 

Therefore, precautions relating to schools have been mild compared to those for retirement homes. 

 

 

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TAXES

Masks, tests and jabs: Can I deduct Covid-related costs from my taxes in Switzerland?

Switzerland’s tax deadline is just around the corner. Are Covid-related costs tax deductible?

Masks, tests and jabs: Can I deduct Covid-related costs from my taxes in Switzerland?

March 31st is the deadline for filing taxes in Switzerland relating to the 2021 financial year. 

Over the past two years, the Covid pandemic has seen a change in our spending habits. 

While we may have saved on restaurants and travel, we laid out considerable costs on a range of new expenses, including disinfectant, masks and Covid tests. 

As some of these costs are required by law, can they be deducted from your tax?

In some cases, expenses directly related to the Covid pandemic can be deducted. 

Masks, for instance, can be deducted as medical expenses in some cantons, Swiss tax specialist Markus Stoll told 20 Minutes

This depends on the specific framework for tax deductions related to medical expenses in that canton. 

EXPLAINED: What can I deduct from my tax bill in Switzerland?

Generally speaking, any medical costs paid out of pocket can be deducted. However, most cantons impose a minimum percentage limit from which these costs can be deducted. 

In many cantons, this will start at five percent of your yearly income in total (i.e. including other out-of-pocket costs like dental or specialist visits), meaning you would need to purchase a significant amount of masks to beat the threshold. 

What about testing and vaccination?

Testing and vaccinations however were largely free as their costs were covered by the Swiss government, which means associated expenses cannot be deducted. 

Those tests which were not covered by the government – for instance for travel abroad or for visiting clubs – cannot be deducted, Stoll says. 

“Tests for travel abroad or to visit clubs are not deductible” Stoll said. 

For a complete overview of taxation in Switzerland, including several specific guides, please check out our tax-specific page here. 

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