SHARE
COPY LINK

SCHOOLS

Swiss school closures cut Covid spread: new study

Switzerland's decision in the spring to shutter schools was one of the most effective measures in reducing mobility and thus also transmission of Covid-19, a study showed on Sunday.

Swiss school closures cut Covid spread: new study
School girls in Lausanne on their way to school at the end of Switzerland's first lockdown. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, ETH, determined that the closure of Swiss schools last March was responsible for cutting mobility by more than a fifth.
   
“School closures reduced mobility by 21.6 percent,” Stefan Feuerriegel, an ETH professor of management information systems who headed the study, told AFP in an email.
   
“School closures reduce mobility, (which) then reduces new cases” of Covid-19, he said.
 
   
In a tweet, he said his team had analysed some 1.5 billion movements in Swiss telecommunication data between February 10 and April 26 last year to evaluate the impact on mobility as various anti-Covid measures were introduced.
 
   
In decentralised Switzerland, its 26 cantons introduced measures at different paces before a country-wide partial lockdown, including school closures, was ordered on March 16.
   
Schools across the country remained closed for about two months before gradually opening up again.
 
READ ALSO: 
 
The study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, found school closures ranked third in terms of reducing mobility.
   
At the top of the list was a ban on gatherings of more than five people, which was seen slashing mobility by 24.9 percent, and the closure of restaurants, bars and non-essential shops, which caused people to move about 22.3 percent less, the study shows.
   
Feuerriegel said it was not surprising that school closures had such a big impact on people's movements.
   
“If schools are closed, we can expect a large change in behaviour,” he said, pointing out that “not only will kids stay home, but sometimes it also requires their parents to change their mobility as well.”
   
School closures have been among the most controversial measures introduced around the world to help rein in the pandemic.
   
Children are far less likely to develop severe illness from Covid-19 than older people, but it remains unclear how much they transmit the virus.   
 
The ETH study does not address that, but indicates that school closures can significantly reduce transmission by prompting people to move about and mingle less.
   
“Our analysis confirms school closure as a measure to slow the spread, through reduced mobility,” Feuerriegel said.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

COVID-19

Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists

Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival announced on Friday that it was forced to drop the acts of four UK-based artists from its summer program because they haven’t been fully vaccinated yet.

Switzerland's Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists
British singer-songwriter Rag'n'Bone Man was dropped from Montreux Jazx Festival. Photo: GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP

The move was done in order to comply with current Covid-19 entry rules into Switzerland, which state that from June 26th, travellers from outside the Schengen zone, including Brits, will only be allowed to enter Switzerland if they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus. 

READ ALSO: Switzerland relaxes travel rules for vaccinated Americans and Brits: What you need to know

British soul singer Rag’n’Bone Man who was one of the headliners for the 2021 edition of the festival, which starts on July 2nd, will now no longer be able to attend due to not being fully vaccinated.

Other unvaccinated acts based in the UK who were also dropped because of the new entry rules include Inhaler, Alfa Mist and the Yussef Dayes Trio.

The artists have already been replaced with other performers from around Europe including Italian singer Zucchero, Woodkid, Dutch songwriter Benny Sings and Danish jazz trio Athletic Progression.

In a statement on June 25th, festival organisers said they were trying to make sure that the concerts of the other UK artists would continue to go ahead, however it is tricky because of fears over the Delta strain of the Covid virus, which has now become dominant in Britain.

“Whether or not these artists can come depends on their vaccination status and that of their touring entourage, as well as their ability to quarantine at the start of their European tour or before their concert at Montreux,” they said.

The Montreux Jazz Festival is one of just a small handful of big music festivals in Switzerland that will still go ahead this summer. Other music events such as St Gallen Open-Air, Paléo and Bern’s Gurten festival have been cancelled for the second year in a row, due to ongoing fears over the Covid-19 virus.

READ ALSO: UPDATE: What rules do European countries have for travellers from the UK?

SHOW COMMENTS