Secondary schools must fully open as soon as possible, says children’s advocate
The national children’s ombudswoman, Margrite Kalverboer, has urged the Cabinet to allow secondary schools and secondary vocational programs to fully reopen as soon as possible, NRC reported. She stated that schools should be allowed to open their doors right after the May holidays.
This can have the added benefit that "young people are offered a bit of structure for a few more months before the summer."
Kalverboer argued that very little attention has been paid to young people who have been facing mental difficulties during the pandemic. She slammed members of the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) who advise the Cabinet weekly on reopening steps, saying the OMT has focused too much on reopening a number of other sectors. They have thus let down the interests of children who are particularly hit by the lockdown measures.
“It's all about opening shops and terraces, about Fieldlabs and vaccination strategies. But in the meantime, students in secondary vocational education and higher education are only allowed to go to school one day a week and secondary school students are at home three days a week on average,“ said Kalverboer.
“It is only about the short term, the daily rates. As if these policies did not mainly affect children and young people in the long term,“ she added. Moreover, Kalverboer was very concerned about how the lockdown will affect young people for years to come.
“They have not been able to develop normally at a crucial age due to social isolation and lack of structure. That can lead to mental problems. And the sooner you have to deal with this in your life, the greater the impact it will have on the rest of your life.”