Dutch secondary schools to be fully open from May 31
Following a meeting in The Hague over the weekend, the Dutch government has announced that secondary schools in the Netherlands will be able to fully open from May 31, and will be required to do so from June 7.
All secondary schools in the Netherlands to be open from June 7
At the press conference on May 11, Prime Minister Mark Rutte revealed that he and his cabinet ministers would look into options for fully reopening Dutch secondary schools before the end of the month. Secondary schools partially reopened on March 1, but many had hoped they’d be able to resume full-time in-person teaching before the end of the academic year.
Students will also no longer be required to maintain the recommended 1,5-metre distance, however will still be asked to wear face masks when moving around the building. The Outbreak Management Team (OMT) also highlighted the importance of readily available self-tests for students and members of staff in allowing for schools to reopen safely.
Dutch Education Minister highlights importance of students' mental health
“We want to make it possible for the students to go to school for at least another six weeks before the summer holidays begin,” said Education Minister Arie Slob. “You can see that students suffered greatly during the corona period and that being able to go back to school fully for their mental well-being is extremely important."
The trade union CNV Education isn’t particularly pleased by the news, pointing out that many teachers remain unvaccinated. Furthermore, while the OMT has said schools can reopen before the summer holidays, medical experts have warned that the Netherlands could feel the negative effects of this relaxation over the summer.
Restaurants, museums, and cinemas might reopen on June 5
Following the cabinet meeting on May 22, sources in The Hague reported to the NOS that the government was considering lifting a number of coronavirus restrictions on Saturday, June 5. This would mean museums, cinemas, theatres, restaurants and bars reopen in time for the weekend, and everyone would also be granted more freedom to meet with friends and family.
As it stands, the next press conference is set to take place on June 1, and many expected the relaxations would only come into effect on June 9. Last week, however, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said that if hospital admissions continue to fall, the next stage of relaxations could happen earlier than planned.