Parents in Sweden: How do you feel about sending your children back to school?

Swedish schools are set to reopen after the summer holidays in the coming weeks, after keeping schools for under-16s open during the pandemic. We want to hear from international parents how you feel about back-to-school season in times of corona.

Parents in Sweden: How do you feel about sending your children back to school?
File photo of a school in Stockholm. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Sweden kept schools open for young children in spring, but closed them for over-16s to curb the spread of the coronavirus. In autumn, schools will reopen for everyone, but secondary schools (gymnasium) have been given permission to move teaching online if they want to or change the schedule to avoid students travelling during rush hour.

Those who are against school closures tend to point to reports suggesting that schools are associated with lower risk of transmission, that keeping them open is essential for parents in key jobs, and that the social and educational benefits of allowing children to attend school are so crucial that they outweigh any disadvantages.

Those who favour school closures tend to argue in favour of a risk-averse approach, and that parents should be allowed to choose what is right for their children, especially if they have family members who belong to at-risk groups. Some parents have been told they risk being fined if they keep their children at home in Sweden.

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Swedish opposition proposes ‘rapid tests for ADHD’ to cut gang crime

The Moderate Party in Stockholm has called for children in so called "vulnerable areas" to be given rapid tests for ADHD to increase treatment and cut gang crime.

Swedish opposition proposes 'rapid tests for ADHD' to cut gang crime

In a press release, the party proposed that treating more children in troubled city areas would help prevent gang crime, given that “people with ADHD diagnoses are “significantly over-represented in the country’s jails”. 

The idea is that children in so-called “vulnerable areas”, which in Sweden normally have a high majority of first and second-generation generation immigrants, will be given “simpler, voluntary tests”, which would screen for ADHD, with those suspected of having the neuropsychiatric disorder then put forward for proper evaluations to be given by a child psychiatrist. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, of ADHD treatment, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background were less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden. 

In the press release, the party said that there were “significant differences in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD within Stockholm country”, with Swedish-born children receiving diagnosis and treatment to a higher extent, and with ADHD “with the greatest probability” underdiagnosed in vulnerable areas. 

At a press conference, the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell, said that identifying children with ADHD in this areas would help fight gang crime. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” he said. 

Sweden’s climate minister Annika Strandhäll accused the Moderates of wanting to “medicate away criminality”. 

Lotta Häyrynen, editor of the trade union-backed comment site Nya Mitten, pointed out that the Moderates’s claim to want to help children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses in vulnerable areas would be more credible if they had not closed down seven child and youth psychiatry units. 

The Moderate Party MP and debater Hanif Bali complained about the opposition from left-wing commentators and politicians.

“My spontaneous guess would have been that the Left would have thought it was enormously unjust that three times so many immigrant children are not getting a diagnosis or treatment compared to pure-Swedish children,” he said. “Their hate for the Right is stronger than their care for the children. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime