Teachers want stricter Covid measures in class; None needed, Minister says
The vast majority of teachers are seriously worried about their work situation and want the government to take stricter coronavirus measures at schools to protect them, according to a poll by teachers' union Leraren in Actie (LIA). Minister Arie Slob for Primary and Secondary Education understands the concerns, but does not see the need for more measures, the Telegraaf reports.
Nearly 80 percent of teachers are worried about their work situation. They complain that it is difficult to keep 1.5 meters apart in full classes, and that pupils are lax about the advice to wear a face mask. Teachers feel that their concerns are not taken seriously, LIA chairman Peter Althuizen said to the Telegraaf.
"Our poll shows that three-quarters of teachers want more mandatory precautions in the classroom," Althuizen said. "For example by working with half groups, so that both teachers and children can keep their distance from each other. But they don't want to hear that in The Hague, because school has become a kind of daycare for children of working parents."
According to Althuizen, there are many teachers at home with coronavirus symptoms. "I sometimes think: will they only take action when the first teacher dies of corona?"
Minister Slob told the newspaper that he understands teachers' concerns about their health. "That is why it is also necessary that pupils keep their distance from the teacher and that the other basic rules are properly observed," he said.
But he sees no need for extra measures, especially not for the idea of smaller classes. "It is very important that children are taught at school as much as possible," he said. "According to the Outbreak Management team, that is also responsible."
On Friday, Nieuwsuur reported half of secondary schools in the Netherlands have reported at least one coronavirus infection since August, 342 of the 648 schools. At 44 of them, there were over 10 infected pupils and teachers. Seven high schools had to close their doors temporarily due to an outbreak.
Nevertheless, the number of positive Covid-19 tests among teachers is not remarkably high, the program said. Of education personnel who got tested for the virus, 10.3 percent tested positive, lower than the national 13.8 percent positive tests.