Belgium requires students in more regions to wear masks in classes
New COVID-19 rules welcome students returning from autumn holiday in regions of Flanders, Wallonia
New rules entered into force on Monday in Belgium that oblige students to wear facial masks in schools of Wallonia and Flanders regions as part of measures against the coronavirus.
Students of 5th and 6th grades in Flemish primary schools, as well as secondary school students in Wallonia, must wear facial masks during classes as of Monday after regional authorities imposed in October new rules to stem the spread of COVID-19.
The government of the Flanders region decided on Oct. 27 to make masks obligatory in the last two grades of primary schools after a speedy rise of infections.
Flemish secondary schoolers can still attend the classes without covering their noses and mouths because the vaccination rate for the age group of 12-18 is high in the region.
Also, Wallonian high school students have to wear masks during classes, while primary school students can stay in the classroom without masks.
Masks have already been made obligatory for students in French-speaking high schools Brussels.
The anti-pandemic regulations in the country differ as education is a regional competence in the federal state of Belgium.
Belgium has seen a significant rise in COVID-19 infections since the beginning of October.
Last week, over 7,200 people have been diagnosed with the virus on a daily average, 10% higher than the week before, while the number of daily hospitalizations also grew 24%.