Primary schools struggling to keep lessons going as Covid infections rise
Primary schools are struggling to keep lessons going as more and more teachers are at home with the coronavirus, or waiting for their test results. The absenteeism is also increasing the already heavy workload for the remaining teachers, NOS reported after surveying 529 primary schools.
"Every week we have three or four teachers who drop out. As a result I am almost only arranging and calling to find a replacement," one primary school director said to the broadcaster. Another said that she nearly gets a heart attack every time a teacher calls, worried that they are sick and have to stay at home.
Almost 80 percent of the surveyed schools said that they can't always find a replacement for a sick teacher. Sometimes they manage to put a teaching assistant in front of the class, or the principal, but some already had to send multiple classes home. Over 400 schools expect more problems after the autumn break, now that cold and flu season is also on top of us.
PO-Raad, the council for primary schools in the Netherlands, is very aware of the problems, a spokesperson said to NOS. "We hear from our members that it is quite a challenge. The teacher shortage was already a problem and now the coronavirus is added on top of it." The council therefore advises schools to focus on the essentials. "The lessons are the priority. What can be cut is different at every school, but they really have to set priorities."
Almost all the surveyed primary schools said that rapid Covid-19 tests, which give results in minutes instead of days, will help. PO-Raad therefore hopes that teachers will be given priority once those tests become available, so that the don't have to wait at home for a test result but can get back to work immediately.