Many of Amsterdam’s 220 primary schools plan to take Group Eight students into classes immediately after the winter break ends on January 9, regardless of the cabinet’s pending decision to keep schools closed as part of the ongoing lockdown. The interim cabinet plans to make its final decision on schools on January 3, which schools believe is too late, Newsur reports.
There are over 7,000 students in Group 8, the last semester before moving on to high school. The first month of the year is especially important for them as they progress toward graduation by taking standardized tests that influence important recommendations primary schools make about the next stage of a student’s education.
“Apart from the fact that they have already been home for two closures, counseling should be given, and tests taken that guide this advice,” said Eva Nijkins, principal of the Alan Turing School in Amsterdam. When one considers that students will have to work towards finishing elementary school, state their preferences in high school, and they will soon say goodbye to some of their classmates, “it makes sense to say that the group is vulnerable,” Nijkins concluded.
“Of course there were many positive signs regarding Omicron,” epidemiologist Amrish Bedjo told Newsor, discussing about a variant of the novel coronavirus that may be more contagious but less pathogenic. “We really have to wait and see. It’s still too early to tell. First let the current infections go down a little bit more, then there will be space to try new ways to open schools and other sectors safely.”
Marielle Poole, a Member of Parliament for Prime Minister Mark Root’s VVD party, was not enthusiastic either. “We can’t yet know whether it is wise to open schools [on January 10]She said. Healthcare experts advising the government need time to analyze the spread of the virus to provide a constructive opinion on the issue. I waited for that advice.”
D66 Member of Parliament Paul van Menen was more supportive of the Amsterdam plan, even if it was not a perfect solution. “Of course it’s important for these kids, in an important year, and physical education is the best,” he told Newsor. “Let’s do whatever is safe.”
The Amsterdam plan is an “emergency measure,” Nijkins said, preferring to open schools for all children attending at least two or three days a week. “I open the school halfway so we can serve all the students. I don’t like seeing some kids sitting at home and others going to school.” She added that the discussion should take place at the national level by the Council of Ministers in a way that all children can benefit from it.
“Dedicated procedures are, simply put, too bad. They don’t provide the security and structure that we have to keep in mind in education.”