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These Swiss cantons have made masks compulsory in schools

School goes back on Monday, August 10th in cantons across Switzerland. From masks to plexiglas, this is how cantons are hoping to protect students.

These Swiss cantons have made masks compulsory in schools
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Masks have been made compulsory in high schools and vocational education centres in the western canton of Neuchâtel. 

Neuchâtel has followed the lead of Lucerne and Geneva in requiring masks in schools, although unlike Lucerne students do not have to pay for their own masks. 

Neuchâtel State Councilor Monika Maire-Hefti told Le Temps “Wearing a mask will be compulsory in post-compulsory education, if one cannot respect 1.5 meters of distance”. 

READ: Everything you need to know about Switzerland's new compulsory mask requirement 

In practice, Le Temps reports that masks will be compulsory inside all high schools and vocational centres in Neuchâtel as distance requirements will be difficult to comply with. 

Masks will not compulsory outside, while Maire-Hefti also said “”in some workshops that are large enough, however, the students should not wear them.”

The canton has ordered 120,000 masks for students to wear in order to comply with the requirement. 

Will masks be required in other cantons? 

Authorities in Bern will meet on August 7th to discuss a mask requirement. 

In Thurgau, authorities will also make a decision on wearing masks before school goes back. 

What are schools in other cantons doing?

Schools in Basel Country have said they will provide students with masks in high schools and vocational education centres in situations where distancing will not be required, although wearing masks will not be compulsory. 
 
In Aargau, schools will not require masks but have installed plexiglas where distance cannot be kept. 

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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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