Three high school students in the city of Basel in Switzerland falsified a coronavirus test result so they could skip school for a few days, local newspapers reported on Wednesday.
Unfortunately, the plan got out of hand. The school took the result seriously and sent the entire class, including the teachers, home for 10 days.
Now students face serious consequences – not only from their school, but also from the law.
“This is a serious case, not just a ‘farce’,” Basel education department spokesman Simon Thiriet said.
Their actions may violate the country’s pandemic law, a Swiss broadcaster SRF reported.
Absenteeism joke turns on them
The coup took place before the Easter holidays. The three teenagers managed to forge a text message with the result of a recent test, showing it to be positive.
As a result, 25 people from their school with whom they had contact were made to take distance learning courses from their homes for the next 10 days.
Now the education department wants to lay criminal charges, but has said it will not expel the students.
“We don’t want to hamper their studies,” Thiriet said. Additionally, the culprits were quick to recognize the hoax when suspicion arose.
The education department has also shown its understanding of the predicament many young people find themselves in during the pandemic.
“Young people are in a complicated situation; there are complex issues. Nevertheless, we cannot excuse their actions,” Thiriet added.
Swiss schools open their doors
Unlike some neighboring countries, Switzerland has kept its schools open for most of the pandemic, only closing them for about eight weeks between mid-March and mid-May last year, the German daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.
The national government was able to close schools thanks to the pandemic law which gave it additional powers during the outbreak.
Since then, the decision-making power over the opening of schools has fallen to the various cantonal administrations. They were united in their approach to keeping schools open, albeit with different hygiene rules, such as wearing masks.