Unicef Nederland and 59 other organisations have urged the government to reopen schools on January 10 as planned, and not to close them again as a way of reducing the impact of coronavirus.
‘If we have learned one lesson, it is that closing schools is damaging to the welfare of children and young people,’ the organisations said in a joint appeal. ‘Education does not have an on and off switch. It is an essential part of growing up.’
Hospitals, children’s rights groups and mental health groups are among the signatories.
The interests of children are not being taken into account enough when coronavirus strategy is being drawn up and the role of schools in spreading serious disease is not clear, the organisations say.
‘This is a pandemic that has to be solved primarily by adults,’ the declaration states. ‘Children are being made responsible for the health of adults, but their own interests are being forgotten.’
Government health advisors are due to meet on Monday to decide if schools can reopen.
The government closed all schools, colleges and universities a week early in an effort to stop children giving coronavirus to more vulnerable relatives during the Christmas festivities.
Amsterdam city council has already said it plans to reopen primary schools to group 8 pupils on January 10.
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