Primary schools and childcare centres in NL to re-open on 8 February
From Monday 8 February onwards, primary schools, child day-care centres and special (primary) education will be fully open again. This was decided by the Kabinet today.
According to the RIVM's Outbreak Management Team – OMT ensuring that primary schools, child day care and special (primary) education are fully open again is the responsible strategy. Buitenschoolse Opvang – BSO (out of school care) will remain closed. The grouping formations at the BSO are not equal to those at school, which means that opening up the BSO would lead to extra contacts and possible extra infections.
Minister Slob (Primary and Secondary Education):
"It is a relief that the schools can open again. For parents and teachers, but especially for the pupils, of course. Children learn best at school, also socially. At the same time, we continue to monitor the situation closely, because the [Covid-19] situation in the Netherlands remains serious."
Minister Koolmees (Social Affairs and Employment):
"Fortunately, child care can be reopened. This means that young children can once again play and develop with their peers in a safe environment, while parents can concentrate on their work with peace of mind. For many families, this will be a relief. Combining working from home with caring for young children is demanding on parents. The same goes for all those childcare workers who have set up and run the emergency shelters. However, the opening of primary education and childcare comes with an unchanged responsibility for all of us. If at all possible, work at home, limit travel and avoid contact moments. Also in the schoolyard and when entering childcare facilities. This is the only way to ensure that it is responsible to reopen."
The OMT recommends further limiting the spread risks at schools and childcare centres. RIVM has made proposals on how day care centres and schools can deal with this. Based on these proposals, the Kabinet, in consultation with the education and childcare partners, will issue adapted guidelines in the very short term. When symptoms appear, children must go home and if a child tests positive, the whole class or group goes into quarantine.
In order to detect infections quickly and to send classes home less often, Minister Slob wants to start tests in the very short term to have primary school teachers use rapid tests. It will be seen how the childcare facilities will be involved in this.
Childcare workers can be tested as a priority in the short term. This was already the case and will continue to be so for employees in education.
It has not yet been decided when secondary schools in the Netherlands will re-open.