Schools not to re-open fully from next Monday

Flemish schools will not start 100% face to face teaching from next Monday as had originally been planned. At a meeting between the Flemish Education Minister Ben Weyts (nationalist), the education boards and the teaching unions held on Monday morning it was decided that once schools return from the Easter holidays on 19 April the same measures will be in force as was the case at the end of last term. 

The figures relating to the coronavirus pandemic mean that the planned return to 100% face to face teaching will have to be put back. A final decision on the measures to be in force once the new term starts will be taken at a Wednesday’s meeting of the Consultative Committee that is made up of representatives of Belgium’s federal, regional and language community governments. 

As was the case prior to the Easter holidays, from next Monday children in nursery and primary schools and pupils in the first two years of secondary education will be taught 100% at school. Pupils in the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th years at secondary school will be taught 50% face to face and 50% via online distance learning. It is still the intention that these children will return to school full time as soon as the coronavirus figures have fallen enough for this to be opportune.

As was the case during the spring term pupils in special secondary education and part time secondary vocational education will be taught 100% on site. However, those in adult education and part-time art education will continue to be taught by means of distance learning.

Face covering will remain mandatory in school for pupils in the final two years of primary school and all pupils in secondary education.

School dining rooms will reopen. However, the aim is to stagger mealtimes as much as possible so as to ensure that only pupils from the same class bubble eat together. Effective ventilation will of course also be in place.

Playtimes will once again be held at the same time for members of various class bubbles. However, schools are strongly advised to try and keep class bubbles apart as much as possible.

Day trips will be allowed, but only for members of the same class bubble and only after a risk analysis has been carried out. Public transport may not be used for school trips. 

Teachers are advised to hold meetings outside wherever possible, to maintain social distancing and to wear face coverings. If the weather or another issue prevents them from holding a meeting outside the staff room must have been well ventilated prior to the meeting and a high level of ventilation maintained throughout. 

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