Three elementary schools temporarily close after coronavirus outbreaks
Three elementary schools, in Amsterdam, Beemster and Panningen, closed after multiple students and staff members were infected with the coronavirus, the AD reports. In many cases it is difficult to trace back to where and when the outbreak began.
At De Blauwe Morgenster in Beemster the first child tested positive in the week before the spring vacation. Later on, four staff members and one intern tested positive causing over thirty families to go into quarantine, largely because an adult contracted the virus. At the school in Beemster the outbreak was concentrated to three groups. De Blauwe Morgenster was not allowed to open its doors this past Monday and instead had to wait till Friday to allow children from some groups to return to school.
Around the same time, the B117 coronavirus variant spread at the elementary school Oostelijke Eilanden in Amsterdam. More than 50 students and 15 teachers tested positive. Four of the six pre-school groups were affected despite extra precautions. In one pre-school group, nearly half of the children contracted the disease.
Slowly, infection rates at the Oostelijke Eilanden seem to be going down again. “We received word of the last infections last weekend; it seems as if it is nearing the end”, director Ingrid de Haan said to the AD. Some of the older groups were able to return to school on Monday. Pre-schoolers have to wait slightly longer, due to many teachers still on sick leave.
The elementary school De Riet in Panningen had to close its doors on Wednesday due to six teachers and an unknown number of students testing positive for the coronavirus. The virus spread primarily in one part of the school. Until all test results are back, the school will remain close as a precaution.
“There are also people that have tested negative. That makes the situation unclear. The virus has now spread in the school. And we don’t know when someone was infected”, Dave Huntjes, president of the educational foundation, Prisma, says to Limburg1. Huntjens stated they have enough staff members to continue online education.
The uncertainty about where and when the outbreaks began worries some. Pediatrician and member of the Outbreak Management Team, Károly Illy, told AD that this should not come as a surprise. “When we decided to reopen elementary schools, we knew what would happen. We did not say that the infection risk among toddlers was not there at all. We only said that the risk increases as children get older.”
She expects more outbreaks at elementary schools in the near future, “It is terrible but we do need to see things in perspective.” Illy said that in the majority of schools there were no infections. Usually, when the coronavirus is detected it remains an isolated case.
According to the RIVM, infection rates among teachers both in and out of school were at 5.4 percent last week. The percentage is still lower than among people who work in other childcare fields, public transport, health care and law enforcement. Prior to schools reopening the infection rate among teachers lay at 4.8 percent.