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Will it kill us to keep the classes remote for a while? It will no doubt kill some of us if we don't.

What I can say is that remote learning is a serious downgrade to classroom learning for the kids. The spring term last year was a disaster for our son. The learning was terrible, socially and psychologically it was terrible. Continuing like that for a full year would have been incredibly difficult.

The government in Luxembourg recognized this and has prioritized keeping schools open (as have most countries in Europe). They stayed open through the wave in November/December. They only did remote learning for one week after Christmas. Rules locally (some specific to school, others for the general population) are:

* masks at all times in school, except when eating lunch
* masks mandatory on public transport (most kids take public buses rather than specific school buses)
* masks mandatory in all public places for everyone
* limit of 4 kids per table, with distancing, at lunch (lunch staggered across several hours to make space)
* kids bring their own water bottles/no drinking from fountains
* sanitizer and cleaning increased
* no team sports--PE class is a lot of ping pong and badminton and (fortunately for kids who aren't getting much exercise) swimming
* visitors to home limited to 2 people
* bars and restaurants (except take away) closed
* if a positive case is found in a student's household, that student must quarantine and do remote learning for 2 weeks and proven negative test
* if 2 cases are found in the same class, the entire class goes into quarantine

This is bolstered by widespread random testing to find asymptomatic cases along with on-site testing at schools. For example, one of the local schools recorded 4 cases of the UK variant this week. In response, an on-site testing facility is being set up to test every student in the school over the next few days. (Personally, I'm worried this variant might prove so contagious that we have to go back to remote learning at some point. For now, it doesn't have much of a foothold locally, but it appears to be exceptionally contagious.)

Aside from one small outbreak early in the year, I am not aware of any significant spread through the schools. Nor am I aware of any teachers dying or getting extremely ill. And while Luxembourg is a small country and does not get much attention, we went through a period in December with one of the highest per capita case rates in the world.

All that to say, schools can remain open safely. However, it takes a lot of vigilance, testing support, remote learning capacity for quarantined students, and strict rules in society.
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