Can I keep my child off school?

Next Tuesday is 1 September and it’s back to school for Flemish children.  The education sector is operating a new colour code this year.  The new schoolyear starts under code yellow.  This means that all schools will open for five days of schooling a week.

Local authorities can designate a different colour code in their area if they face mounting coronavirus cases.

The Flemish education department has attempted to answer many of the questions parents are facing.  These include the question ‘How many days can my child attend school and can I keep him or her off school?’

The number of days a child can attend school a week depends on the colour code valid in your area. That may have different implications for children studying at different levels and types of school.  The colour code reflects the state of the coronavirus pandemic in your area.  At the start of the new schoolyear colour code yellow reigns across Flanders.  This means all children can attend school for five days a week.

The Flemish education department says that you are not allowed to keep your child off school, unless there is a well-founded reason.  Reasons include a need to self-isolate or observe quarantine, illness or membership of a group at risk.  Children that stay off school at home without a well-founded reason will be registered using the code for problematic absence.

If your child belongs to a group at risk, the department’s best advice is to consult your family doctor to find out whether he or she may go to school.  If there is a person belonging to a group at risk in your household, you may send your child to school unless your family doctors objects.  The doctor will provide a certificate to justify this absence.

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