Secondary schools also need to reopen for pupils' well-being, council says
Primary schools and daycare facilities will be allowed to reopen from February 8, the government announced on Sunday. But secondary schools will still have to remain closed, indefinitely at this point. It is "undesirable and irresponsible" to keep secondary school children home much longer, VO-Raad, the council for secondary schools, said to NOS.
The organization is worried about study delays for students, but also about their mental health and social development. Last week, the children's helpline Kindertelefoon reported that it received significantly more calls about mental health issues like loneliness and suicidal thoughts during the second lockdown. A number of youth organizations also reported seeing an increase in eating disorders and depression in kids, according to NOS.
VO-Raad therefore advocated for opening secondary schools again as soon as possible. The council wants to use the space created within the Outbreak Management Team's advice for opening schools safely. "It stated that pupils and/or pairs of pupils must keep a distance of 1.5 meters," or as close to that as physically possible, the VO-Raad said to NOS.
With such a construction, the VO-Raad believes it possible for every secondary school pupil to attend school physically at least once a week. That is "crucial to the well being of pupils," the council said to the broadcaster.