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School absences during Corona pandemic in court

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 19 October 2023

In Valais, the legal dispute over a child’s absence from school during the Corona pandemic is entering the next round. Following the acquittal of the parents by the cantonal court in August, the Valais education department has now lodged an appeal with the Federal Supreme Court.

School absences during Corona pandemic in court
Photo by Kai Pilger on Unsplash

It is basing its appeal on two apparently contradictory rulings made by the cantonal court in this matter. This was explained to the Keystone-SDA news agency on Wednesday by Jean-Philippe Lonfat, head of the Valais Department of Education.

In the case in question, the parents had successfully defended themselves against the fine of 600 francs imposed on them. They had not sent their child, a pupil in the fifth primary class, to school for about 14 days because of the compulsory wearing of masks.

The cantonal court justified this acquittal on the grounds that parents could not reasonably be forced to expose their child to major health risks.

Against compulsory masks

In another case from October 2022, parents had been rebuffed by the Cantonal Court. They had not objected to a possible fine, but to the wearing of the mask itself. They felt that the mask requirement was a “violation of personal freedom and the protection of children”, they criticised.

In this ruling, the court had found in particular that the decision of the Council of State to introduce the mask-wearing requirement had been reasonable and proportionate in view of the information available to it.

©Keystone/SDA

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