Schools reopen after extra long winter break
The Christmas holidays are over, and primary- and secondary schools will open again on Monday. After-school care is also starting again. The pupils' holiday started a week earlier due to the emergence of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. The Cabinet decided last week that it is unnecessary to keep schools closed for longer.
Children and teachers must adhere to a few basic coronavirus rules. Pupils from group 6 must wear face masks in hallways, just like the teachers. They have to do a self-test twice a week, pupils with symptoms must stay home, parents have to wait outside, teachers have to keep their distance from each other, and all meetings are happening online for the time being.
Secondary vocational schools, colleges, and universities will remain closed for now. The students will receive digital education, barring exceptions. On January 14, the Cabinet will reconsider whether they too can go back to physical education.
The Cabinet received pleas from all sides to reopen schools. The call came from, among others, Children's Ombudsman Margrite Kalverboer and from 60 organizations, including UNICEF, Youth Care Netherlands, and the Dutch mental healthcare system. Dozens of secondary schools in Amsterdam and Rotterdam joined the call on New Year's Day.
Covid-19 infections among children aged 0-9 have steadily fallen after hitting a peak at the end of November, while infections among people 10-19 have gone up dramatically since Christmas.
Nationally, coronavirus infections have doubled in ten days to a record 25,438. Per capita, infections disproportionately affect people between 10-39, which may be why the dramatic increase in positive tests has not yet led to a rise in Covid-19 hospitalizations.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times