Primary schools and daycare centres will not be allowed to open on January 25, as the cabinet had hoped, education minister Arie Slob confirmed on Sunday.
The decision to keep schools shut until at least February 8 is ‘unfortunately unavoidable’, Slob said, after Sunday’s meeting between ministers and health experts.
‘I realise this is a blow for teachers, parents and pupils,’ he said. ‘Helping your children with their school work while you are doing your own job is very difficult to deal with.’
Slob said that ministers will talk to employers and unions about giving parents who have dual responsibilities some form of leave, and that the government will help pay for this.
In addition, Slob said that he and education experts were looking at other measures which would help pupils make up their missing education once schools were open again. The government would make money available to fund this, he said.
Schools and daycare centres are open for the children of people doing ‘essential’ jobs, such as healthcare workers, while secondary schools are open to children in exam years.
The government’s Outbreak Management Team had already indicated that reopening primary schools ahead of schedule was not an option, given that infection rates have not come down enough, and the arrival of the more infectious B-117 strain of coronavirus in the Netherlands.
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