Thursday 25 February 2021

Schools wrestle with rules for reopening, and some will stay shut

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Some primary school heads are uneasy about the government’s plans to reopen the school gates from next Monday, and one school group has decided not to reopen at all.

The Lowys Porquin foundation, which runs 31 primary schools in the Bergen op Zoom region, will not open its doors on Monday because it is ‘not clear what risk teachers and pupils will run’, the school said in a letter to parents.

‘I do not consider it to be a responsible decision,’ group director Stephane Cepero told the Volkskrant.

Other school groups too are wrestling with the decision. The Marenland school group in northern Groningen has also said it cannot reopen all schools fully because some teachers with vulnerable health conditions don’t want to take any risks, local broadcaster RTV Noord said.

School rules

Ministers outlined their plans for reopening primary schools and daycare centres on Tuesday.

If any pupil or teacher tests positive for coronavirus, the entire class must go into quarantine and take a test after five days. Children who are not tested should stay in quarantine for a further five days.

In addition, parents of younger children are being urged to stay outside the school gates and to wear a face mask when dropping off their children. Children in groups 7 and 8 should come to school alone if at all possible.

Schools are also being urged to stagger their hours and to limit breaks outdoors, and  to recommend children in the top two years wear a face mask when outside the classroom.

Secondary schools and after school clubs remain shut to most pupils until March 1 at least, or after the winter half term holidays.  However, they remain open for pupils in exam years and the children of essential workers.

Rinda de Besten, chairwoman of the primary schools council PO-raad, told the NRC that the late arrival of the protocols for reopening schools is ‘extremely irritating’.

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