Schools and Kitas

This page provides parents and children with essential information on how the coronavirus will impact schools and childcare facilities.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

  1. Kitas/Daycare
  2. Schools
  3. Day structures
  4. Post-compulsory schools
My child has a slight cold. Can she/he  go to a daycare centre?

Children before kindergarten entry with mild symptoms such as a cold and/or sore throat with/without a mild cough, without fever may attend the daycare center or day family. They do not need to be examined or tested if they are otherwise in good general health. This does not apply to symptomatic children who have a child of kindergarten age or older or an adolescent or adult in the same family or household. In this case, the parents must keep the child at home for the time being and contact the pediatrician for further clarification and assessment.

Children are not allowed to visit a daycare center or day family if they have a fever or are visibly ill (in a reduced general condition). A return is only allowed when the child has been fever-free (without fever-reducing medication) for at least 24 hours and is in good general condition.


 
Children entering kindergarten or older must stay home and be tested if they have symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 illness.

The Department of Health has created a flow chart to help clarify to parents and caregivers when a child may enter a daycare center. (See the daycare/playgroup flowchart below this FAQ).

My child is not allowed in the day care centre because of a quarantine order. Do I still have to pay the parental fees during this time?           

You do not have to pay parental fees if your child cannot attend the Kita because of an officially ordered quarantine. The quarantine must have been ordered because there was a possible infection with the corona virus within the Kita or the nursery or school. If the quarantine was ordered because of an infection outside the Kita (e.g. in the family environment, circle of friends or professional environment of the parents), you must continue to pay the parental fees.

Your Kita will be reimbursed for the loss of parental fees and is obliged to waive or reimburse the parental fees for the quarantine period. Your Kita fills out an application form which you must sign.

You can find further information at: www.jfs.bs.ch/info-traegerschaften

When do I have to wear a mask at the nursery?

Parents wear a mask indoors and outdoors in day-care centres or playgroups. If you are waiting for your child outside the institution, you must wear a mask. You must also wear a mask in the entrance area and in the cloakroom for the handover of your child. This also applies to siblings aged 12 and over who are present at the handover.

Do the teachers in the day care centre wear a mask?   

If the teacher is assigned to a fixed group, she can look after the children in her group without a mask. If the groups mix or if a teacher leaves their group, they must wear a mask.

This is a minimum requirement. The day-care centres can introduce a more extensive obligation to wear a mask.

What do I have to do if my child comes to Switzerland from an area with an increased risk of infection?  

People who enter Switzerland and have stayed in a country or area with an increased risk of infection within 10 days before entering are obliged to go into quarantine.

The child is not allowed to visit the nursery during this time. The regular parental contribution must be paid during this time. You must inform the Kita that you and the child are in quarantine and that the child does not need to be looked after.

The list of countries with an increased risk of infection is constantly updated by the Federal Office of Public Health (BAG): Quarantine obligation for travelers

My child has a slight cold. Can she/he  go to a daycare centre?

Children under 12 years of age with mild symptoms such as a cold and/or sore throat with or without a slight cough without fever may attend the daycare centre if they do not suffer from fever.
Children may not be admitted to the daycare centre if they have a fever or are visibly ill and/or if they have mild symptoms and an adult or child over 12 years of age in the same household is ill.

The Department of Health has drawn up a flow chart to help parents and caregivers to determine when a child may attend a daycare centre. (see the flow chart for daycare centres/playgroups under this FAQ)  

Are there any special measures in the recreational facilities to prevent new infections as far as possible?

 

From 1 March 2021, the indoor areas of the open children's and youth work will be open again for children and young people born in 2001 or younger (up to 20 years of age). Protective measures will continue to apply. Details are described in the protection concept. This can be viewed at:  www.jfs.bs.ch/info-traegerschaften.

Washing hands - how and when? (Tips from the Health Department of Basel-Stadt)

  • When washing your hands, use PH-neutral liquid soap if possible.

  • Do not use hot water, it will dry out your hands even more. Cold water is just as effective.

  • So-called refatting soaps can hardly prevent hands from drying out, as the additional grease is rinsed off with the washing water. Creaming the hands after washing is more effective.

  • Therefore, after each wash, use hand creams with moisturizing effects (urea, glycerine, nourishing oils, etc.)

  • It is sufficient to wash your hands thoroughly. The use of disinfectants is not recommended for children.

  • If disinfectants are necessary in special situations, then only without washing your hands.

We paid our daycare centre the parental fees for the time during the lockdown in advance, but did not let our child be looked after during this time. Are we entitled to a refund?

Yes. The Federal Council ordinance obliges daycare centres which receive compensation to reimburse parents for contributions already paid for childcare services not used in the period from 17 March 2020 to 17 June 2020. Please contact your daycare centre for a refund of parental fees already paid. If the daycare centre is not willing to do so, you can contact the specialist office at tagesbetreuung@bs.ch.

If you have any further questions that are not answered in the FAQ above, you can contact the Parents' Fees Office of the Day Care Centre on +41 61 267 46 10. Kitas can send their questions by e-mail to tagesbetreuung@bs.ch. Up-to-date information on counselling services can be found at www.jfs.bs.ch.

Where can pupils get tested?

In the case of children and adolescents with symptoms of illness that indicate corona disease, a specialist must carry out the test at a test centre, hospital, doctor's practice or pharmacy.

Children over 6 years of age can be tested at the Covid-19 test centre at the University Hospital Basel (up to the age of 12 by means of a spit test). At the UKBB, only children up to 6 years of age and all children with severe symptoms or who require a paediatrician's assessment can be tested. An overview of other institutions offering tests can be found at coronavirus.bs.ch/testen.

The newly available self-tests cannot be used in this situation. These should only be used for people without symptoms.

Do sport and swimming lessons take place?

Primary school: Sports and swimming lessons take place with as little physical contact as possible and in compliance with hygiene rules. For the students of the 5th and 6th grade of the elementary school there will be no swimming lessons until further notice.

 

Secondary school: Since 3 May 2021, the following general conditions apply: The cloakrooms and showers may be used again. The pupils are taught in mixed-gender classes. The mask requirement also applies to sports lessons. If the minimum distance of 1.5 metres can be maintained outdoors, pupils may remove their masks. Sports activities with close physical contact are not permitted.

What should be considered when a child is ill or shows symptoms of illness?

Covid 19 disease symptoms are described in the "Guidelines Coronavirus - Schools and Kitas" and in the "Flowchart Kindergarten, Primary School, Secondary School" (see links under these FAQ). 

Children and adolescents in primary schools (from kindergarten entry) with symptoms suggestive of corona disease must stay at home and be tested immediately. This also applies to mild symptoms of illness such as a cold and/or sore throat with or without a mild cough.

If a child has allergies or known symptoms of illness (such as hay fever, mild headaches, mild stomach aches or regular mild colds), the parent/guardian can inform the responsible teachers and specialists as well as the day structure management about the complaints. The child can then attend kindergarten, school or the day structure despite mild symptoms. In these cases, a test only needs to be done if the symptoms are different from what is known.

Does my child have to go to school?

Yes, since 11 May 2020, face-to-face teaching has been back in force. As children do not generally belong to the risk group for coronavirus infection according to the FOPH, no exemptions from attendance classes are granted, but special protective measures are established at school if necessary.

Parents can contact the Child and Adolescent Health Service KID (+41 61 267 90 00 or schularzt@bs.ch) after consulting the doctors treating them. After clarifying the medical situation, the KID will make a recommendation and seek an individual solution with the school.

Do children have to wear masks at school?

Kindergarten and primary school: Pupils in the 5th and 6th classes of the primary school must wear a mask on the school premises and in the building, including the classrooms and the rooms of the day structure. In mixed-age classes with pupils in grades 4 to 6, the obligation to wear a mask also applies to pupils in grade 4. The schools provide masks.

Secondary school: Secondary school pupils must wear a mask on the school premises and in the building, including in the classrooms and rooms of the day structure. The schools provide masks.

Children aged 12 and over must wear a mask on public transport.

Do adults have to wear masks in schools?       

Yes, adults must wear a mask in kindergartens, primary and secondary schools. Only persons who cannot wear a mask for special reasons, especially medical reasons, are exempt from the mask requirement.

What do I have to do if I enter Switzerland with my child from an area with an increased risk of infection?

Persons who enter Switzerland and have stayed in a country or area with an increased risk of infection with the coronavirus within 10 days before entry must report after their entry (online form of the Canton of Basel-Stadt) and be placed in quarantine for 10 days. The decisive factor for the quarantine obligation is whether a country you have visited in the last 14 days is on the list on the day of entry into Switzerland.
If possible, travel to high-risk areas should be avoided, otherwise it is the responsibility of parents to return to Switzerland in time to ensure that school attendance after the holidays is guaranteed. If the family only enters Switzerland shortly before school starts, the child may not attend school during the quarantine period. The parents must inform the class teacher that the child is in quarantine. Absences due to quarantine are considered as excused.
The list of countries with an increased risk of infection is updated continuously by the Federal Office of Public Health FOPH: Quarantine obligation for travellers

What measures are taken if the quarantine obligation is not complied with?

Teachers or specialists who are aware that a pupil is not complying with the quarantine obligation are obliged to isolate the child and send him/her home or have him/her picked up by his/her parents

Is the absence due to quarantine treated as an excused absence?

Yes, absences due to quarantine are considered excused.

What are the distance rules at the schools?

According to the guidelines and recommendations of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), there are no distance rules between pupils. The minimum distance of 1.5 metres specified by the FOPH between adults and pupils should be observed as far as possible. Among adults, the minimum distance must be maintained.

Washing hands - how and when? (Tips from the Health Department of Basel-Stadt)

  • When washing your hands, use PH-neutral liquid soap if possible.

  • Do not use hot water, it will dry out your hands even more. Cold water is just as effective.

  • So-called refatting soaps can hardly prevent hands from drying out, as the additional grease is rinsed off with the washing water. Creaming the hands after washing is more effective.

  • Therefore, after each wash, use hand creams with moisturizing effects (urea, glycerine, nourishing oils, etc.)

  • It is sufficient to wash your hands thoroughly. The use of disinfectants is not recommended.

  • If disinfectants are necessary in special situations, then only without washing your hands.

What other measures apply to pupils?

The teachers and the staff of the day structures will explain the protective measures to the pupils in an age-appropriate manner. Stricter hygiene rules apply: Washing hands regularly remains a part of everyday school life. The classrooms are regularly ventilated. The schools are cleaned daily, and particularly critical areas (e.g. door handles and toilets) are cleaned several times a day.

Can class camps take place?

Camps (colonies and sports camps) will not be held until further notice.

Do sport and swimming lessons take place?

 

Can the voluntary offers of the schools be visited?

Yes, optional school activities (e.g. optional subjects, courses in local language and culture) take place.

Are the day structures open?

Yes, the day structures and the lunch tables are open. The usual registration conditions apply.

If you have any further questions, please contact the school management of your child's school. You can also find up-to-date information on the school at www.volksschulen.bs.ch and www.mb.bs.ch.

Where can pupils get tested?

In the case of children and adolescents with symptoms of illness that indicate corona disease, a specialist must carry out the test at a test centre, hospital, doctor's practice or pharmacy.

Children over 6 years of age can be tested at the Covid-19 test centre at the University Hospital Basel (up to the age of 12 by means of a spit test). At the UKBB, only children up to 6 years of age and all children with severe symptoms or who require a paediatrician's assessment can be tested. An overview of other institutions offering tests can be found at coronavirus.bs.ch/testen.

The newly available self-tests cannot be used in this situation. These should only be used for people without symptoms.

What should be considered when a child is ill or shows symptoms of illness?

Covid 19 disease symptoms are described in the "Guidelines Coronavirus - Schools and Kitas" and in the "Flowchart Kindergarten, Primary School, Secondary School" (see links under these FAQ). 

Children and adolescents in primary schools (from kindergarten entry) with symptoms suggestive of corona disease must stay at home and be tested immediately. This also applies to mild symptoms of illness such as a cold and/or sore throat with or without a mild cough.

If a child has allergies or known symptoms of illness (such as hay fever, mild headaches, mild stomach aches or regular mild colds), the parent/guardian can inform the responsible teachers and specialists as well as the day structure management about the complaints. The child can then attend kindergarten, school or the day structure despite mild symptoms. In these cases, a test only needs to be done if the symptoms are different from what is known.

Do children in day structures have to wear masks?

Pupils in the 5th and 6th grades of the elementary school and pupils in the secondary schools wear a mask on the entire school grounds, on the grounds of the day structure location and in all indoor rooms (including the classrooms and day structure rooms).

Students in the 5th and 6th grades of elementary school and students in secondary schools must wear masks on public transportation, in indoor spaces accessible to the public, and on field trips. The schools provide masks.

What do I have to do if I enter Switzerland with my child from an area with an increased risk of infection?

Persons who enter Switzerland and have stayed in a country or area with an increased risk of infection with the coronavirus within 10 days before entry must report after their entry (online form of the Canton of Basel-Stadt) and be placed in quarantine for 10 days. The decisive factor for the quarantine obligation is whether a country you have visited in the last 14 days is on the list on the day of entry into Switzerland.
If possible, travel to high-risk areas should be avoided, otherwise it is the responsibility of parents to return to Switzerland in time to ensure that school attendance after the holidays is guaranteed. If the family only enters Switzerland shortly before school starts, the child may not attend school during the quarantine period. The parents must inform the class teacher that the child is in quarantine. There is no provision for distance learning. Absences due to quarantine are considered as excused.
The list of countries with an increased risk of infection is updated continuously by the Federal Office of Public Health FOPH: Quarantine obligation for travellers

What measures are taken if the quarantine obligation is not complied with?       

Teachers and day care centre staff who are aware that a pupil is not complying with the quarantine obligation are obliged to isolate the child and send him/her home or have him/her picked up by the parents.

What happens if a child or staff member falls ill during care?

In this case, this person must immediately put on a hygiene mask, be isolated and go home as soon as possible. The caregiver who is waiting for the parents with the pupil also wears a protective mask and keeps the distance.

Which distance rules apply in the day structures?  

According to the guidelines and recommendations of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), there are no distance rules between pupils. The minimum distance of 1.5 metres specified by the FOPH between adults and pupils should be observed as far as possible. Among adults, the minimum distance must be maintained.

Washing hands - how and when? (Tips from the Health Department of Basel-Stadt)          

  • When washing your hands, use PH-neutral liquid soap if possible.

  • Do not use hot water, it will dry out your hands even more. Cold water is just as effective.

  • So-called refatting soaps can hardly prevent hands from drying out, as the additional grease is rinsed off with the washing water. Creaming the hands after washing is more effective.

  • Therefore, after each wash, use hand creams with moisturizing effects (urea, glycerine, nourishing oils, etc.)

  • It is sufficient to wash your hands thoroughly. The use of disinfectants is not recommended.

  • If disinfectants are necessary in special situations (e.g. when entering a building), then only without washing your hands. The water stored in the horny layer dilutes the disinfectant. If the hands are exposed to rough contamination or are dirty (e.g. after the toilet, after blowing the nose or while preparing/dispensing food or similar), it is always necessary to wash the hands.

What needs to be considered during activities?

 

Activities in which pupils and staff come too close to each other or in which physical contact is compulsory (e.g. «play catch») are avoided.

What are the rules for a stay outside the school/day structure area?

The use of public transport is waived whenever possible. If pupils in the 5th and 6th grades of primary school use public transport as part of their lessons or day structure, they must also wear a mask.

Why do the protection concepts differ in some respects?            

The Department of Education and the Department of Health have drawn up protection concepts for the various services - day-care centres, teaching, support services, day structures PS, day structures Sek. These protection concepts take into account the different framework conditions and circumstances of the services and differ accordingly in some points.

What rules apply to toys and work equipment?

Toys and employment materials are reduced to the necessary and cleaned

Why are there so many rules for catering?

During lunchtime meals, many pupils from a wide variety of classes spend time in a daily structure. Special rules of hygiene and conduct therefore apply.

What rules apply to catering?    

Primary level

For catering, increased protective measures apply, such as

  • no self-service by the pupils

  • no sharing of food and dishes

  • Employees do not prepare meals (e.g. afternoon snacks) together with the pupils

  • Employees do not eat at the same table as the pupils

  • Students in 5th and 6th grades will remove their masks while taking meals once they are seated at their seat.

Secondary School

Together with the catering providers, the schools define suitable measures on site. Increased protective measures apply, such as

  • Avoidance of crowds in front of the food kiosk or in front of the refectory

  • no self-service

  • no sharing of food and dishes

  • Reduction in seating capacity

Is it possible to book additional day structure modules for a limited period of time or to reduce the scope of care for a limited period?          

No, for the school year 2020/21 the usual registration conditions apply.

Are day care and holiday care offered at schools?

Yes, day holidays and holiday care at schools take place. Parents register their child in an appropriate offer if they need childcare. Further information is available at www.ferienbetreuung.bs.ch.

What form will teaching in post-compulsory schools take in the 2020/21 school year?

Face-to-face teaching may take place in its entirety and in whole classes at upper secondary level, provided that hygiene measures, distance rules and the obligation to wear masks can be observed. The decision as to the form and extent of distance learning is the responsibility of the school management. In the tertiary sector, in general and in-company continuing education, face-to-face courses will be possible again from 19 April 2021. The number of participants is limited to a maximum of 50 persons; masks must be worn and distance rules must be observed. Where fixed seating is available (e.g. concert seating) or a maximum room occupancy is specified (e.g. by fire or building police), only half of the available seats may be occupied. In classrooms without clearly defined capacity requirements, the spacing rule of 1.5 metres must be observed for teaching situations with fixed seating. For courses where participants move freely around the room, there must be 10m2 per participant. For rooms smaller than 30 m2 , a minimum area of 6 m2 per person applies. If it is still not possible to offer face-to-face teaching, distance teaching shall be offered wherever possible. In exceptional cases, face-to-face teaching is possible in the case of teaching activities that are a necessary part of a structured course of study and for which on-site presence is required (e.g. in the nursing or medical professions or in laboratories). The decision as to the form and extent of supplementary face-to-face teaching is the responsibility of the school management. 

Do pupils, learners and students have to stay at home after travelling to areas with an increased risk of infection when school starts?

Pupils must go into quarantine for 10 days after travelling to areas with an increased risk of infection. If possible, travel to risk areas should be avoided, otherwise it is the responsibility of the pupils, learners and students to return to Switzerland in good time so that school attendance is guaranteed when the teaching starts and the quarantine does not fall during school hours.

How is access to the school grounds regulated?

During school hours, the school grounds are primarily used for school purposes. The classrooms and exercise areas should be subjected to as little additional load as possible from non-school uses. In-school sports facilities (gymnasiums and swimming pools) and out-of-school facilities (St. Jakob sports facilities, public swimming pools, etc.) are open. The use of the cloakrooms by the schools is prohibited.

What are the spacing rules at the schools?

The minimum distance of 1.5 metres specified by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) should be observed as far as possible between pupils, learners and students and teachers. This applies to lessons, but also to all interpersonal contacts at school that last longer than 15 minutes. A guideline of 2.25 m2 per person applies. Special requirements apply in the tertiary sector, in general and in-company further education.

Do the pupils, learners and students have to go to school?

In principle, classes must be attended. Anyone who is not sure (e.g. if they have their own pre-existing conditions or a parent with a pre-existing condition) should contact the Child and Adolescent Health Service KID (+41 61 267 90 00 or schularzt@bs.ch) after consulting the doctors treating them. After clarifying the medical situation, the KID will make a recommendation and seek an individual solution with the school.

What needs to be taken into account when one is ill or shows symptoms of illness?

All persons with symptoms of illness must stay at home. COVID-19-specific symptoms of illness are cough, sore throat, shortness of breath with or without fever, feeling of fever or muscle pain, and also sudden loss of the sense of smell or taste. Further information can be found in the "Guidelines Coronavirus - Schools and Kitas BS".

Do pupils, students and teachers have to wear masks in schools?

There is a general obligation to wear masks. This applies to the entire school premises as well as to classrooms, meeting rooms and workrooms. The obligation to wear masks also applies in common rooms, in the teachers' room and in the catering area. In addition to masks, partition walls can be used in the educational institution to provide additional protection.

Should I download the SwissCovid app onto my mobile phone?

The use of the SwissCovid App is recommended by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). Its use also makes sense in the area of post-compulsory educational institutions, as it is an additional instrument for breaking chains of infection. However, it does not protect against infection.

Am I allowed to leave the classroom during breaks?

During break times it should be possible to move freely and leave the classroom or school building. The wearing of masks is compulsory.

Will the school canteens and food kiosks be open again in the school year 2020/21?

The refectories and catering kiosks may reopen if they comply with the Gastrokonzept Suisse and have a protection concept. All meals must be taken while seated. No more than four people may sit at a table.
Pupils, learners and students may bring food or drinks as usual, but should not share food or drinks with other pupils. Care must be taken to ensure that the minimum spacing is observed when eating out.
For the canteens and catering facilities at the schools, it must be ensured beyond the protection concept for the catering area that there is no additional mixing of groups (classes, courses) with contacts of more than 15 minutes in non-compliance with the distance rules and mask wearing obligation.
 

Do the sports lessons take place?

Physical education classes can resume from 3 May 2021 in accordance with the special protection concept for physical education classes at vocational and secondary schools.

Is music and singing allowed in schools?

Choir rehearsals and singing lessons are permitted. Mask wearing and observance of spacing rules apply. Individual lessons or rehearsals are permitted in separate rooms. Events with an audience indoors are prohibited. The obligation to wear a mask does not apply to the playing of wind instruments, but an area of at least 25 m2 must be available for the exclusive use of each person.

Can planned class camps take place?

Until the end of the school year 2020/2021, all trips, camps and excursions (with overnight stay) abroad and in Switzerland will be waived
 

Are there whole-school events, teacher conferences and information sessions?

Whole-school events and information events (outside the classroom) can take place with an audience of up to 100 people if the protection concept allows this. (Performers, participants and helpers are not counted). The obligation to wear a mask applies. 
Rehearsals and performances are possible in the cultural sector (e.g. theatre courses). Masks must be worn and the minimum distance must be observed. Performances in front of an audience of max. 100 people are possible. Seating is mandatory for the audience and only half of the available seats may be used. Indoor choir performances are still prohibited.
    
Conferences of teachers can take place with up to 100 people. In all cases, seats and masks must be worn and the minimum distance must be observed.

Are voluntary school offers and public courses (languages, crafts) held in schools?

Optional school offers (e.g. optional subjects) may take place in compliance with the protective measures.

Are the counselling services offered by the vocational, academic and career guidance services, Gap - Case Management Vocational Training and apprenticeship supervision available?

The counselling services of the Department of Education are open. Young people with unsuitable opportunities to follow up after compulsory schooling or a bridge offer, after breaking off an apprenticeship, in search of a new orientation or with unclear apprenticeship conditions receive targeted support.

Please organise yourself:

RULES FOR SYMPTOMS OF ILLNESS AND COLDS

When is the child allowed to go to school, kindergarten, nursery or playgroup?