Closing schools again unfairly punishes kids: School leaders
While closing schools may help reduce the number of coronavirus infections, it would be terribly unfair to the children, according to primary schools' organization PO-Raad. The Children's Ombudsman also called on the Cabinet to consider children's interests when implementing coronavirus access policies.
The Ministers involved in the Netherlands' coronavirus approach are meeting on Thursday to discuss further measures to curb the spread of the virus. New infections have been steadily above 20 thousand for some time now, with the RIVM reporting 23,789 new cases on Wednesday - a new daily record.
The Outbreak Management Team previously said that the Cabinet should avoid closing schools for as long as possible, as closed schools have a proven adverse effect on children. But, the high infection rates among children and young people make the far-reaching measure a realistic option for the Cabinet.
The PO-Raad believes it is in children's best interest to keep schools open,despite the high number of infections. "In the interest of the children, we advocate keeping schools open as much as possible," Freddy Weima of the PO-Raad said to NOS.
On Wednesday, the PO-Raad, secondary schools' organization VO-Raad, university association VSNU, and education union AOb called on the Cabinet to prioritize education staff for Covid-19 booster shots. They also called for "a more energetic approach to additional measures" like improving ventilation in schools.
Children's Ombudsman Margrite Kalverboer asked the Cabinet to exempt young people from the 2G coronavirus access policy, in which only vaccinated or recovered people are allowed access to events and restaurants, for example. She is also against the 3G access policy, which also allows people who tested negative for Covid-19, in secondary vocational education.
"Both measures have far-reaching consequences for the daily lives of young people and therefore put pressure on their development, rights, and in particular the right to education," Kalverboer said in a letter to the Cabinet. Education "is an essential facility that all young people should have access to. If the coronavirus access pass is introduced in secondary vocational education, education for unvaccinated students will become less accessible."
Reporting by ANP and NL Times