Primary schools open May 11, Covid-19 restrictions to May 19: Cabinet plan leak
Dutch primary schools are likely to reopen to students on May 11 according to a plan leaked to broadcaster RTL Nieuws. Most other measures in place to halt the spread of coronavirus will largely remain in place at least through May 19.
The Cabinet was expected to make a final decision on the matter later Tuesday afternoon. Prime Minister Mark Rutte was expected to reveal the plan at a press conference in The Hague at 7 p.m., which will likely keep cafes and restaurants closed for three more weeks past the initial expiration of April 28, with a ban on large events extended through September 1 as many mayors requested.
School management organizations will have to work out the details of any re-opening with the Ministry of Education. That includes deciding if schools would allow students in small groups split up throughout the day, different groups of students on alternating days, or bringing in students in phases, sources told RTL Nieuws. The report was similar to other leaked information reported throughout the day.
Daycare facilities, afterschool care, and special education would also be allowed to begin their work again if they follow the same guidelines primary schools lay out with the Education Ministry. The government's Outbreak Management Team classified the public health risk as "manageable" if the education and childcare sector reopens after the May vacation period.
Sport activities for children up to 12 years of age will also be permitted without need to keep a physical distance from each other. Children between 12 and 18 will be allowed to take part in sporting activities at a distance of 1.5 meters from one another, the broadcaster said.
As expected, dentist and dental hygienists will also be allowed to practice, but no decision has been made about other close-contact professions. Earlier on Tuesday, a group representing hairstylists, barbers, and beauticians said they had a protocol they were prepared to submit for review so they could also re-open.
While the latest report from RTL Nieuws said care facilities, like nursing homes, would remain closed to visitors through May 19, an earlier report suggested care facilities could potentially permit one or two visitors at a time.
Late Tuesday afternoon the Cabinet revealed the upper house of Parliament approved an emergency law to allow video calls to replace legally-required in-person hearings. This includes the handling of oral arguments in court cases, as well as board meetings.
The law, which also allows mucus samples to be taken from criminal suspects for coronavirus testing, went into effect retroactively on March 16. It is set to expire on September 1, the same date the large event ban was predicted to expire. The emergency law may be extended by a period of two months as necessary.