On the ground

Sweden has kept schools open during the pandemic despite spike in cases

Pupils at the NYA Elementary School in Stockholm, Sweden, have not had to miss a day of school due to the pandemic.
Pupils at the NYA Elementary School in Stockholm, Sweden, have not had to miss a day of school due to the pandemic. © FRANCE 24 screengrab.

Bucking the global trend, Swedish schools have stayed open throughout the pandemic even with relatively high cases of Covid-19. FRANCE 24's Catherine Norris-Trent and James André report from Stockholm.

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Unlike most children across Europe, Swedish students have not had to miss a single day of school due to the coronavirus.

The country’s public health authorities made the decision to keep schools open at the start of the outbreak and they stuck by this even when the death rate was ten times higher than in Sweden’s Nordic neighbours.

Classes have been compulsory for all pupils up to the age of 16, with no mandatory face masks for pupils or teachers.

“I think it is good that they don’t wear face masks,” one mother tells FRANCE 24, as she leaves her children at school. “I think it is very important that they go to school, otherwise it would be very difficult for me to work.”

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The teachers also believe it is very important to stay open, particularly for struggling students.

“They need a teacher in the same room as them to cheer them on and clarify things,” says Charlotte Hammarback, a teacher at the NYA Elementary School in Stockholm. “Most of the time these students will not ask for help, they will just sit and wait until someone comes up to them.”

Click on the player above to watch the full report.

 

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