Rijksoverheid release guidelines for opening primary schools and childcare
The Ministry of Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap, together with representatives of teachers, school leaders and school boards, has drawn up practical guidelines to enable primary schools to open from 8 February.
Minister Slob (Primary and Secondary Education):
"It is very important that children can go back to school to be taught well. This is also justified according to the Outbreak Management Team. The risks are limited. At the same time, I also understand that there are teachers who are worried about their health. That is why we are taking extra measures to prevent the outbreak from spreading. I realise that this requires quite some organisation from the schools. We will support them as much as possible."
Picking up and dropping off
It has been agreed that parents bringing and collecting children from groep 1 to 6 will stay outside the school. They also keep their distance and wear a face mask.
Children in groep 7 and 8 come to school by themselves as much as possible. There are also staggered start and finish times and breaks, to limit contact.
Teaching staff always keep a distance of 1.5 metres from each other. This is not compulsory between pupils or between pupils and staff. However, the urgent advice is to work with fixed groups as much as possible, in case an infection occurs. That way, fewer pupils have to go into quarantine. In groep 4, 5 and 6 it is recommended to make groups of 5 children, who are allowed to come close to each other. In groups 7 and 8, smaller groups or pairs are used. Playing outside is only done with your own class and classes are not mixed.
Teaching staff who teach groep 7 and 8 may wear a face mask or shield if they wish. This is not compulsory. Schools are strongly advised to have groep 7 and 8 students wear a mouth mask outside the classroom if they cannot keep a distance from students in other classes. Where possible, one-way walking routes are to be created in schools.
Teaching staff and pupils who have been in contact with someone infected with the coronavirus go into quarantine for five days. After that, they can either be tested or remain in quarantine for another five days. During this period, schools provide online education as much as possible.
In the week of 8 February, the first locations will start rapid tests for teaching staff with symptoms or for teachers who have been in contact with an infected person. The goal is to realise a nationwide supply of rapid tests for teachers within three months. In addition, teachers still have priority in the 'regular' testing streets.
There are over 6000 primary schools in the Netherlands, which will apply these nationally agreed guidelines as much as possible in a way that suits the local situation. The guidelines also apply to special education, with room for customisation.