Monday 08 March 2021

No plans to take more coronavirus measures at schools, minister says


The government has no plans as yet to introduce extra rules to improve the safety of teachers in schools, despite the surge in coronavirus cases, education minister Arie Slob told the Telegraaf in an interview.

‘It is very important that children get as many lessons at school as possible,’ Slob told the paper. ‘And according to the Management Outbreak Team, it is safe to do so.’

Unions have called for more focus on the problems caused by coronavirus in schools and a survey by teaching union Leraren in Actie found that 80% of teachers are worried about the situation at work. In particular, full classes make it often difficult to keep to the 1.5 metre rule, teachers say.

There have been coronavirus infections at 342 of the 648 Dutch secondary schools since August, according to research published this weekend by Nieuwsuur and BD Dataplan. The figure is based on an analysis of public information and school communications.

Of the 342 schools, 44 had more than 10 cases of coronavirus and seven schools so far have closed for a time because of the outbreak.

How are Dutch schools dealing with Covid?

Schools in the north reopen on Monday after the autumn half term holidays, followed a week later by schools in the rest of the country.

While the new lockdown included the closure of cafes and bars, and further restrictions on group sizes, schools were not affected. This, said prime minister Mark Rutte at the press conference, is because they are too important to close.

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