Teachers want stricter coronavirus measures, but none are on the way
Teachers in schools across the Netherlands are calling for stricter coronavirus measures to be introduced, but Education Minister Arie Slob has said they are not (yet) needed.
Teachers feel the current set up is unsafe
A poll conducted by the union Teachers in Action (LIA) found that 55 percent of teachers felt the current teaching conditions were unsafe, and 79 percent said they were concerned about the increasing number of infections among students and teachers. Over 15 percent of LIA’s 2.200 members took part in the poll.
Respondents said it was difficult to maintain a 1,5-metre distance between students in full classrooms, and that many youngsters do not sufficiently adhere to the face mask advice. One example of a measure that many teachers would like to see implemented is splitting classes in two so that there are smaller groups in classrooms, thereby making it easier to maintain distance.
However, Peter Althuizen, chairman of the LIA, says the Dutch government doesn’t want to do this: “they don't want to hear that in The Hague because the school has become a kind of shelter for children of working parents,” he told De Telegraaf. He fears that the concerns of teachers were not being taken seriously by the government.
Coronavirus measures in Dutch schools
Education Minister Arie Slob told De Telegraaf that he understood teachers’ concerns, but felt splitting classes into smaller groups is not a viable option: “It is very important that children are taught at school as much as possible, and this view is also supported by the Outbreak Management Team (OMT).”
Slob did, however, emphasise the importance of following the existing measures in schools, and stressed that students must keep their distance from their teachers.
Across the country, there are currently seven secondary schools that have been forced to close due to an outbreak of the coronavirus, and over 50 percent of schools have reported at least case of the virus.