Corona and teacher shortages sometimes force schools to close down

More and more schools are getting into trouble because of the coronavirus. Teachers are not allowed to work in case of illness and replacement is difficult to find. And what do you do when a student turns out to have the coronavirus? Each school solves this in its own way, with the result that schools sometimes close temporarily.

For example, the Municipal School Community of Nijmegen remains closed for the rest of the week after a student was diagnosed with the coronavirus on Monday. On the advice of the Municipal Health Service, the class and part of the teachers were quarantined. As a precaution, the management decided to keep the rest of the school closed for a week, which is why about 1350 secondary school pupils are now at home. Meanwhile, the virus has been detected in two pupils and one teacher. The rest of the week, the pupils are taught online.

At De Wegwijzer primary school in Heerlen things went slightly different. There, several teachers were diagnosed with flu, so it was decided to let them stay at home and get tested. Due to the forced absence of a large part of the team, there were not enough teachers left to teach. As a result, De Wegwijzer was forced to close for the rest of the week.

The school arranges care at school for children of people with crucial professions, but other parents have to come up with a solution themselves.

Working parents

The Foundation for Working Parents receives more and more reports about this, because arranging care for a child in the short term causes a lot of problems for working parents. According to the foundation, it also has consequences for the parents’ employer and their employability because “working with a toddler on your lap does not work optimally”, according to director Marjet Winsemius of the foundation.

In addition, the foundation is afraid that children will fall behind in education if they have to stay at home. “If your child really does stay at home longer and the school hasn’t arranged anything then your child will fall behind. How they have to make up for that is then only the question. Schools really need to sort this out.”

Insufficient testing capacity

“Closing schools completely is never for reasons of infectious disease control,” says GGD director Sjaak de Gouw. “Usually that’s because teachers are hard to replace.”

According to De Gouw, the guidelines for schools are very clear. “We advise teachers and pupils to stay at home in case of complaints and to get tested. Teachers who have been in contact with someone with covid-19 are asked to go into home quarantine for ten days. Primary school pupils who have been in contact with a corona patient and who have no complaints, can simply go to school”

According to De Gouw, the problem is currently mainly testing. There is not enough laboratory capacity to do all those tests within 48 hours. “Together with the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport we are working on more laboratory capacity so that people can be tested faster and get the results the same day or the next day. Then teachers only have to drop out for one or two days.”

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science calls it “very annoying” when a school has to close. “But because of corona it can’t be otherwise,” says a spokesman. “It is the intention that a school is committed to keep the education as much as possible. “For example, by giving lessons online.”