Secondary schools only partially reopening in June
Secondary schools will only partially reopen on June 2nd. At least until the summer holidays, most schools will give priority to pupils who need physical education most urgently. Pupils who are performing well in distance learning may only go in for a few discussions with their mentor, Trouw reports after speaking to eight large school boards, covering a total of 131 secondary schools.
The biggest challenge for secondary schools is social distancing - unlike primary school pupils, teens will have to keep 1.5 meters apart. This means that most schools can only accommodate about a quarter of their pupils at a time. There is not enough time in the day for teachers to give each lesson four times. So schools are coming up with their own solutions.
A number of schools plan to teach small groups in person, while live streaming the lesson to pupils at home. Almost all schools will maintain distance learning, and give priority to a select group of pupils to come in for physical lessons. This involves vulnerable kids with little support at home, pupils who will take final exams next year, and vocational pupils who need practical lessons. "For pupils who are doing well, a few mentor interviews until the summer may be sufficient," rector Rob Fens of the Wolfert van Borselen School Group in Rotterdam said to the newspaper. "Many pupils are doing surprisingly well."
For the pupils who are not in urgent need of physical education, actually going to school will have primarily a social function, René Rigter of the Noord-Holland school community Sovon said to the newspaper. Rigter described the weeks until the summer holidays as a trial period for the new academic year. "Even in September, everything will be far from back to normal. By practicing, we'll start with more clout next school year."
The secondary schools largely expect that distance learning will be here to stay for a considerable time. And that in-class education will largely be a complement to online education. "If only to maintain continuity in a difficult periods for adolescents," Maria van Hattum of Achterhoek VO said to Trouw. "They benefit from calm and stability."
Despite the limitations, pupils and teachers alike are eager to get back to school, the directors said to the newspaper. "In the past, it was the best for pupils not to show up at school. Now that is going to school," Nol Benders of the Christelijke Scholengemeenschap Groningen said. "I've been in education for a long time, but I've never experienced anything like this."