Covid-19: Zurich schools extend mask mandate

Zurich authorities have extended the mask mandate for schools until the end of February.

A student wearing a mask standing outside a school building
Zurich has extended the mask rules in schools until the end of February. Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

On Tuesday, January 18th, Zurich authorities extended the school mask mandate until February 27th. 

The government presumes the number of infections will continue to rise in the canton in the coming weeks and wanted to take appropriate steps to ensure teachers, children and their families are as safe as possible. 

Infection rates have continued to climb in Switzerland in recent weeks, with new records being set almost daily. 

Daily infections crossed the 20,000 mark for the first time in early January 2022, before crossing 30,000 in a 24-hour period several times later in the month. 

On January 11th, Zurich authorities warned of 40,000 infections in the canton alone in late January. 

‘40,000 cases daily in Zurich’ as authorities warn of triage for the unvaccinated

What are the current rules for masks in Zurich schools? 

All teachers and support staff in the canton of Zurich are required to wear masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19. 

Students must also wear masks from the first primary class and above. 

Each school in Zurich, Switzerland’s most populous canton, is required to have its own hygiene and safety concept which lays out exactly how students will be protected from Covid. 

The rules are laid out here by the Zurich Cantonal Government. 

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REVEALED: What are Zurich’s most popular baby names?

Zurich’s most popular baby names from 2021 have been revealed. A strong trend towards short names has emerged - and there’s barely an Urs or Ursula in sight.

REVEALED: What are Zurich’s most popular baby names?

On Thursday, Zurich council published its list of most popular baby names in 2021. 

During 2021, 5,251 babies were born across the canton, which is Switzerland’s most populous. 

On top of the list for boys was Noah, with 27 of the boys born last year receiving the biblical name. 

The leader for the girls was a little more controversial, with two different names laying claim to the crown. 

While 28 of the girls born in Zurich last year were called Olivia, there were 44 girls born in total with a variation of Sophia/Sofia. 

REVEALED: The most popular baby name in each Swiss canton

Short names dominated both lists, with Emma, Anna, Ella and Mia ranking high for girls, alongside Leo, Louis and Theo for boys. 

Another trend is that diversity is on the slide in Zurich, with fewer names given than in previous years. 

Swiss tabloid Blick reports that while 15 years ago there were 62 different names for every 100 people, there were less than 50 (48 for girls and 47 for boys) in 2021. 

Middle names are also on the rise in Switzerland, with 57 percent having one in 2021 compared to 48 percent in the 1990s. 

How does this compare to Switzerland? 

Although the 2021 figures haven’t been released for Switzerland, those from 2020 showed Noah was popular across the country as the favourite boys name. 

Olivia however was not even in the top five for girls names in Switzerland, where Mia, Emma and Mila were the most popular. 

Much like pretty much everything in Switzerland, there are significant differences between linguistic regions. 

In total, there were 461 Mias born in Switzerland last year, followed by 407 Emmas and 350 Milas.

Switzerland saw 507 Noahs born last year, followed by 372 Liams and 359 Matteos.

Mia and Noah are the most popular names in German-speaking Switzerland as well as in the country as a whole, which is of course helped by the fact that around 60 percent of Switzerland speaks German.

French-speaking Switzerland, also known as Romandie, saw Gabriel and Emma top the charts in 2020.

Sofia claimed top prize in the Italian-speaking part of the country, while Leonardo was far and away the biggest winner among the boys.

The situation is slightly different among Switzerland’s foreigners, with many opting to stick with names popular in their home countries, rather than those in Switzerland. 

READ MORE: What are the most popular baby names among foreigners in Switzerland?