Some Latvian children attending an outdoor class to learn more about forests, Source: FEE International, on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Latvia’s first anti-vaxxers school awaits licensing

Latvia’s first anti-vaxxers school awaits licensing

It is unlikely that it could start operating by 1 September, when the school year begins

On Friday 27 August, the Latvian Broadcasting Service (LSM) reported that the first school in the country to welcome all those teachers and students who stand against COVID vaccinations was still awaiting its official licensing. The institution has been thought of as a response against the government-imposed rule that all teachers must get vaccinated if they want to practice their profession.

The school founders are optimistic that the license to practice will be granted before the rapidly approaching start of the school year on 1 September. Officials from the State Education Quality Service, in charge of reviewing the application, are not convinced that this will happen.

Vaccination stance is turning into a new societal cleavage

The proposed name of the institution is the All-Latvian Secondary School, which also alludes to its location and how it plans to circumvent the strict rules on vaccinated teachers. The answer is simple – it will be an online school. The plan is to teach students remotely thus avoiding the need to get the shot or to pass through regular PCR tests for the students.

The State Education Quality Service confirmed that it has received the application and that the school is on the educational institutions' registry but that does not mean that licensing had been granted. In fact, that is an administrative process that might take quite a while, what with a backlog of applications.

That also means that anti-vaxxer parents should not jump to enroll their children to the school just yet since it may result in the kids ending up school-less. That would also be against the law since primary education in Latvia is compulsory.

However, even the proposed existence of such an institution raises up a lot of questions in society. Would that not be a new form of apartheid? A fault line is so deep that it virtually tribalizes people?

After all there are political cleavages in a democratic society but that does not lead to separate schools on that account. However, one’s stand on vaccination has implications on public health.

Furthermore, an anti-vaxxer school would probably have quite a controversial reputation. Would its graduates find it hard to get employment later on in the job market?

Curiously enough, Eva Selga, Chairwoman of the Board of the Latvian Personnel Management Association, was of the opinion that the labour market will have to adapt in the future more and more towards the various groups in society. The country’s labour market is not so large as to be picky on whom to hire and whom to ignore.



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