School year starts in north Netherlands amid ventilation concerns
Primary- and secondary school pupils in the northern region of the Netherlands started the new school year on Monday, with coronavirus measures that differ slightly from the previous school year. Education unions are worried that many schools do not yet have their ventilation in order.
In secondary education, teachers and pupils who have been fully vaccinated for at least two weeks won't have to quarantine after contact with someone who has the coronavirus. Only unvaccinated teachers and -students need to take a self-test twice a week. Teachers and students need to maintain social distancing, and face masks are mandatory in corridors and canteens.
In primary education, adults like teachers and parents must keep 1.5 meters apart. But for the kids, no restrictions apply other than the general rules like washing your hands regularly and staying home if you have symptoms.
Education unions CNV Onderwijs and AOb raised concerns about many schools not yet having their ventilation in order. A CNV survey found that only a third of primary- and secondary school teachers, and less than a quarter of vocational school teachers think that the ventilation is well regulated, the union said to AD. Many buildings are old and can only open windows and doors for ventilation, and the government subsidy for better air in schools is not enough to fix this.
Thijs Roovers of AOb said something similar to newspaper NU.nl, adding that opening windows for ventilation will be a problem as the weather turns colder. "We have to be careful that we don't end up in a situation where students in thick sweaters and jackets are shivering in class. The working environment simply has to be healthy and we urge that the air quality and ventilation must be properly checked at the start of the school year."
According to the Telegraaf, the vaccination-specific measures in secondary education is leading to tension among parents. The parent organization Voor Werkende Ouders told the newspaper that parents believe these measures are pressuring their children to get vaccinated.
The Noord-region includes all municipalities in Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe, Overijssel, and Noord-Holland. It also includes all Flevoland municipalities with the exception of Zeewolde, as well as Hattem in Gelderland, and Eemnes and the former municipality of Abcoude in Utrecht. In the Midden region, schools start next week. And pupils return to school in the Zuid region over two weeks.