Minister for Health and security, Hugo De Jonge, made an appearance on the TV show “The coronavirus, facts and fables”, last night. He explained to the presenter that the cabinet hopes that by closing schools, parents will be more likely to work from home.
He explained that the risk of infection was also becoming too great in schools. By closing both primary and secondary schools under the new strict measures, the cabinet hopes to bring down the rate of infection and encourage more parents to work from home.
OMT surprised by closure of primary schools and daycare
A member of the Outbreak Management Team (OMT), Marc Bonten, has told the NOS that he is surprised by the government’s decision to close primary education and daycare.
“Young children contribute little to the spread of the virus, so the direct effect of those measures will be small.”
He believes that the government’s motivation behind this was to make parents more likely to stay at home, a suspicion that was confirmed by De Jonge last night. “You do this mainly so that parents have to stay at home and therefore travel less”, Bonten says.
Spread of virus within secondary schools
While younger children play a very small role in the spread of coronavirus, the spread of the virus amongst adolescents and teenagers has become worrying in recent weeks.
Last month, experts warned that stricter measures were needed in secondary school education in order to prevent the continued spread of coronavirus throughout secondary schools.
Children and teenagers played a larger role in the spread of the virus during the second wave of coronavirus, figures from the RIVM show. RTL Nieuws reports that since August, 8.2% of coronavirus infections were found in people between the ages of 13 and 17.
Schools are expected to stay closed for most students until at least the 19th of January.
There are exceptions to these closures, however. Vulnerable children or children with parents in essential professions that require them to continue to work out of the home, may still attend day care or school.
The government has provided an extensive list of contact professions that may continue to work. Amongst the list of crucial staff who may continue to work in contact environments are teachers and daycare workers.
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