Last Tuesday evening, during the first press conference of 2021, we heard that the lockdown will be extended until February 9th.
Not much will change compared to the phase we are currently in; hard lockdown with only the most essential places being open. A possible curfew is still under discussion.
There is a chance that the primary schools will open on 25 January again. There is a possibility that the earlier opening will apply to daycares as well. It all depends on how the virus will develop in the coming weeks, and especially what the new coronavirus variant, which was first identified in the UK, will do here. There is a lot of uncertainty at the moment.
During the lockdown, parents are required to continue to pay for the daycare. They will get the parent contribution reimbursed by the government.
In any case, secondary schools and universities will stay closed until February 9th. And when these students go back to school again, they will have to wear a facemark and keep 1.5 meters distance between themselves as well
(they already had to keep distance from the teachers).
In the city of Groningen, in the North-East of the Netherlands, they are conducting a pilot study to see if students could go and take their exams safely if they could take a fast Covid test prior to their exams.
Secondary schools and universities have promised to be more lenient in terms of the application procedure for new students for next school year..
While the ‘original’ virus didn’t seem to affect small children this much, it looks like the UK mutation is more contagious. A few weeks ago, there has been an outbreak of the UK mutation at a primary school near Rotterdam. Currently, all residents of two years and older who live in the municipality of Lansingerland are urged to get tested – 62,500 in total. Hopefully this will give some more insight in the coming days.
The daycares and primary schools are still open for emergency care for children whose parents have essential jobs, children who attend newcomer/Dutch immersion classes, group 8 pupils (not at every primary school), exam students of secondary schools, students of practical education, and ‘vulnerable’ children who risk getting behind or who cannot study at home, for whatever reason. All other parents are trying to combine their work with the distance education of their children, with varying degrees of success. It hugely depends on the school how they have arranged their digital education.
At least 50 child-oriented organizations, lead by Unicef, have asked the government and the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) to research how schools can be opened as soon as possible in a safe way. They should ask input from schools, youth experts, sports organizations, and the youth and children themselves. They claim that especially the most vulnerable children are suffering disproportionally from the school closings and that it will be more difficult for them to ever catch up.We’ll hear more in the coming days.
Do you have questions about education in the Netherlands in times of the coronavirus? Watch our latest webinar on the Dutch education system, and book your education support call here.
A good source of information in English about the corona measures is the (unofficial) NOS in English Facebook page: www.facebook.com/NOSinEnglish.