Schools will remain open even during a severe Covid outbreak
The Cabinet is determined not to close schools and childcare institutions, no matter how severe a future coronavirus wave may be. Even in the worst-case scenario - code red - schools will be open to half their pupils, and the kids will take turns to get in-person education, according to a sector plan AD has in its possession. The Council of Ministers will discuss it on Friday.
“The previous Cabinet decided several times to close childcare and education. An important change in the starting point of this Cabinet is that we want to prevent a closure of these sectors at all times,” the newspaper quoted from the document.
The plan works on four scenarios. In dark green, the basic measures like good ventilation apply. Green has the basic measures plus extra attention for vulnerable people. Orange implements social distancing, face masks, walking routes, staggered breaks, and no additional activities other than education in schools. And in red, only half of the pupils can be at school at a time. The other half will do distance learning, which doesn’t have to be online lessons but could also be homework.
Once the Cabinet puts a scenario into effect, schools must implement measures as soon as possible, but no later than within one working week. The measures will remain in effect for at least two weeks because rapid changes significantly reduce support for compliance, the guideline said.
The Cabinet also advised schools not to organize physical open days and similar activities during the winter period. Instead, they should opt for “times when there is the greatest chance that these can actually take place.”
Regarding protection against the virus, the guideline said that education employees could be tested with priority. But the document contains nothing about priority vaccination. “Anyone eligible for vaccination at that time can receive it in a timely manner. Of course, this also applies to teachers and pupils,” the document said.
The Covid-19 education sector plan has support from almost the entire sector. According to the newspaper, only the general education union AOb didn’t sign, saying it misses “effective and enforceable” coronavirus measures and income protection for staff with Long Covid.