In Austria, the treatment of a pupil without a mask causes a scandal

A nine-year-old Austrian boy had to take an exam outside because he didn’t wear a mask in class. For the Small newspaper, this anecdote illustrates the “Drifts” of a society polarized around the management of the health crisis.

It is not only in France where the situation in schools is in the news. This January 14, the Small newspaper Austrian dedicates its front page to a controversy that arose in a school in Voitsberg, Styria. In this region in the south-east of the country, a nine-year-old student had to take a general culture exam outside, despite temperatures of around -1 degrees Celsius, because he was not wearing a mask.

Immortalized by an amateur photographer, the scene made the rounds of social networks, before ending up on the front page of the regional newspaper. “The drifts of the pandemic”, write the media in big letters, before adding in the subtitle: “How a nine-year-old got stuck between two ideological camps stuck on the issue of the coronavirus.”

National controversy

According to the Klagenfurt daily, the case rose to significant proportions, after the parents of the student concerned threatened to file a complaint. The child had tested negative for Covid-19 and was in possession of a medical exemption from wearing the mask. “But the attestation was still being verified.” According to the school, he himself insisted on participating in the test, for which he had revised and which he could not bypass.

The case, described as“Unpublished” by the regional newspaper, aroused reactions across Austria. Several Austrian politicians, including far-right MP Markus Leinfellner, have spoken on the subject. The latter assured that he would bring up what he considers a “scandal”, at the Austrian Ministry of Education. An investigation must also be carried out this weekend in the school concerned.

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