Experts meet on Monday to decide if schools and colleges can reopen

Government health advisors are meeting on Monday morning to finalise their recommendations about whether schools should reopen on January 10 as planned.

Primary and secondary schools, and universities, were closed a week ahead of the official start of the Christmas holidays in an effort to break the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus ahead of the winter festivities.

Ministers will meet to take a decision after the Outbreak Management Team has finalised its position.

Last week, 60 organisations including Unicef Nederland and the children’s ombudsman, called on the government to reopen schools. ‘Minors are being made responsible for the health of adults, but the interests of children themselves have been forgotten,’ the organisations said in their plea.

Some 60 secondary school chiefs have also warned about the psychological impact of school closures on young people, saying an increasing number have ‘lost their way’.

However, the number of coronavirus cases has been rising in recent days and over 17,500 were reported to public health institute RIVM in the 24 hours to Sunday morning. The number of positive tests over the past week is up 19% on the first week of the winter break.

People in their 20s currently account for by far the most new cases.

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