Don’t send school classes home over one coronavirus infection, says outbreak expert
The Outbreak Management Team (OMT) advised the Ministry of Health to relax the coronavirus measures for primary education as of September 20. The advice was given by chair of the Dutch Association for Pediatrics and OMT member Károly Illy in the Trouw.
This new school year, the rule still applied that an entire classroom must stay home if one child tested positive for the coronavirus. That meant at hundreds of primary schools across the country, entire classrooms were immediately empty again after the summer holidays ended.
In secondary education, it is already the case that only the close contacts of a person infected with the coronavirus has to go into quarantine.
The absence of students caused major problems at schools that are already struggling with backlogs due to the educational facilities being closed as a result of the coronavirus crisis. This is not only difficult for the teachers and children but also for parents who have to ensure that their child receives education from home.
The OMT stated that the Cabinet can responsibly announce around September 20 that from now on students should only stay at home if they have been in close contact with an infected child.
The OMT advice is justified, according to Illy, because the number of people vaccinated against Covid-19 is slowly rising in the Netherlands. “On top of that, there won’t be as many people returning from vacation by September 20. It is, therefore, a relatively safe moment to say good-bye to the quarantine rule.”
A spokesperson from the sector organization for primary education, the PO-raad, was relieved to hear the advice. “We are happy with this”, the spokesperson told the Trouw. “The situation where whole classrooms had to go into quarantine was not doable.”
The PO-raad said they trust the advice of the OMT.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.