Most secondary schools will fully open by Monday, but some refusing to meet the June 7 deadline
About 9 out of 10 secondary schools are either already fully open or will be open on Monday, broadcaster NOS reported. A small percentage of schools are reluctant to reopen fully for the first time since the second wave of coronavirus infections in peaked in December, despite being given a June 7 deadline to do so. Furthermore, many schools that have returned to the normal work regime experience “mixed feelings“ about it.
Seven percent of the schools surveyed said they would not meet the Cabinet’s deadline. Some of them will continue with their current mix of in-person and distance learning. Others plan to increase the number of physical lessons, but without being open to all students Monday through Friday. Some schools said they were still unsure how to proceed.
At least three of the schools that will miss the June 7 deadline are in Utrecht. Several frustrated parents have reported their concerns to the Education Inspectorate, newspaper AD reported. These are the St. Boniface College, the Christelijk Gymnasium Utrecht and the Gerrit Rietveld College. They prefer to wait until the end of the summer to fully reopen. The schools explained that they feared an increase of coronavirus infections without their school community, and could not guarantee social distancing. Moreover, they said their ventilation systems were a cause for additional concern.
“All rules from the government are being followed, such as wearing face masks. But now that it is very clearly stated that all schools must be open on June 7, they are not doing that. I can't explain that to my children," said one of the parents.
The Foundation for Protestant Christian Education in Utrecht, which operates the St. Boniface College, sent an urgent letter to Education Minister Arie Slob in February. In the letter they warned of great emotional damage if the schools remained closed for much longer.
“Now I think that was just theatre,“ said one of the parents.
"In May, the discussion about the opening came again and it was said: we are waiting for the OMT. And now? Now they're waiting for the vaccinations. If they reopen in the fall and the infection rates go up, what will we be waiting for then?" said one of the parents.
Daan Janssen, a spokesperson for the Education Inspectorate, confirmed they have often been approached by concerned parents. “This week dozens of parents from all over the country reported. The inspector will talk to the school boards and see if further steps are needed.”