Secondary schools get green light to fully reopen on May 31
Secondary schools in the Netherlands have been given permission to open school doors to all students for the first time since the country entered a full lockdown in December, Education Minister Arie Slob said on Saturday. The secondary schools can reopen fully to all students as early as May 31. They must be open to all students by June 7.
The students and teachers will be asked to take a coronavirus self-test at home twice weekly, and students will be required to maintain a safe social distance from teachers and other school staff members. Students will not have to keep a distance of 1.5 meters from each other. The OMT determined it would be impossible for the teenagers to comply with such a measure with the schools becoming more crowded.
Self-test kits were provided to schools by the government, the Ministry of Education said.
The schools have only been open on a limited basis with most students attending classes half the time, with the other half replaced by distance learning. The Cabinet arrived at the decision to open them back up more fully after getting approval from the Outbreak Management Team, which provides advice on policy during the coronavirus pandemic. Members of the caretaker Cabinet discussed different options at a meeting on Saturday.
Only 15 percent of the teachers represented by labor union CNV said they were enthusiastic about opening schools to all students. The union pointed out that many teachers still have not been vaccinated.
"Many older and vulnerable teachers who wanted to were already vaccinated. Over the coming weeks, more and more teaching staff will be invited for a vaccination, with which the first shot vaccination coverage will increase in the coming weeks," the Ministry of Education wrote in a statement.