Friday 07 May 2021

Teachers and pupils are struggling, as school shutdown is extended


School teachers are becoming increasingly worried about both their pupils and educational standards, now that schools are set to remain closed until at least February 7, according to a string of new reports and surveys.

One in three primary school teachers in a survey by DUO said it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep all children involved in online education and three in five are worried about how pupils are going to make up for the lessons they have lost.

In addition, teachers say they have noticed their pupils are suffering from mental problems, physical complaints and stagnation in their social and emotional development, thanks to the isolation from their peers. ‘It is a question of time before the tension and the stress spills over into time off work,’ a spokesman told the AD

Secondary schools

Research published in the Financieele Dagblad on Tuesday shows that around 25% of secondary school pupils are also struggling with home schooling, particularly in finding space or a quiet place to study. The figure comes from a survey of almost 22,000 teenagers at 114 different schools.

Parents too are struggling to cope with combining work with home schooling.

Employers organisation AWVN said on Monday that now schools are to be shut for longer, some form of leave for parents needs to be developed. ‘There are all sorts of options but something has to be worked out,’ a spokesman said.

Sick teachers

Meanwhile, education unions are urging the public health institute RIVM to keep a record of how many teachers and support staff end up in hospital with coronavirus. This information will be crucial in deciding if and when schools can reopen, trade union CNV Onderwijs told RTL Nieuws.

‘There is a lot of emotion in this debate… but if more facts were published, that would counteract the emotion,’ a spokesman said. ‘More facts would enable better targeting.’

Since the beginning of September, over 23,000 teachers and daycare workers have tested positive for coronavirus. New weekly figures will be published later on Tuesday.

Thank you for donating to

The team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments. has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.