The agreement to switch to Code Orange by half term came after many hours of talks involving the Flemish Education Minister Ben Weyts (nationalist), the unions and the schools boards.
What does Code Orange mean in practice?
A number of additional measures will come into force. All activities that take place outside school will be suspended for pupils in primary schools. Pupils will be given assigned places in the school canteen and visits from people from outside the school will be strictly limited.
In secondary schools Code Orange provides for the possibility of staggered break times to reduce the number of pupils on the school yard at any one time.
Wherever possible meals will be taken per class and classes will be taught in the same classroom where pupils have an assigned place wherever possible
In secondary schools only sporting activities where social distancing can be maintained will be allowed. Football, rugby, hockey, basketball… will be off the PE curriculum for the time being. Showers may no longer be used. However, changing rooms may be used proving that face masks are worn and that they are cleaned each time after use.
The wearing of face masks will be extended. Pupils will have to wear their masks on the school yard if they are unable to uphold social distancing.
An information campaign aimed at school children and teachers will be launched to explain the importance of face masks and social distancing.
The Education Minister also announced a system to pay for supply teachers to replace teaching staff that might have to quarantine or have become ill.