Urgent government advice: Mandatory face masks in secondary schools

Urgent government advice: Mandatory face masks in secondary schools

Following discussions with a number of educational organisations, government ministers have issued urgent advice for secondary schools in the Netherlands to make face masks mandatory for students and teachers. 

Face mask advice for Dutch secondary schools

The advice applies to all areas on campus outside of the classroom, such as hallways and auditoriums, where it is felt that the advised 1,5-metre distance cannot be maintained. In classrooms, however, where students stay seated, the masks are not necessary. 

The urgent advice was issued on Thursday by government ministers Ingrid van Engelshoven and Arie Slob, both of whom serve as Minister for Education, in collaboration with the VO council (an association of Dutch secondary schools). Their advice is effective from Monday, October 5. 

As this is merely advice, and is not an explicit rule making face masks compulsory, the decision has been left to the schools as to whether or not they will enforce a mandatory face mask rule. The advice does not apply to primary schools, colleges, or universities

Schools where masks are mandatory

A number of secondary schools across the Netherlands had already made face masks compulsory before this advice was issued, specifically in so-called hotspot areas such as Amsterdam

Since mid-August, students and employees at the Amsterdam Lyceum, Imperial College Karel (Amstelveen), Hervormd Lyceum Zuid have been required to wear masks. In Haarlem, some schools took similar action, such as the Stedelijk Gymnasium Haarlem and Haarlem Mendelcollege. The British School in the Netherlands (BSN) have also made face masks compulsory for students and staff in all communal areas of their secondary school. 

Since the government’s announcement on Thursday, Breda has made face masks compulsory for all secondary schools in the municipality. From Monday, all students will be required to wear a mask when outside of the classroom. If a student refuses to wear a face mask, they will be issued with a warning. 

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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