Extra measures to help curb the spread of coronavirus in schools

New measures to help curb the spread of coronavirus in Flemish schools were announced on Friday evening. Quarantine rules for children in classes where pupils have tested positive have been tightened, schools will not be allowed to organise trips that involve overnight stays and activities in which children from different form groups are mixed have been banned. 

The measures were agreed at a meeting between the Flemish Education Minister Ben Weyts (nationalist), the education boards and teaching unions on Friday afternoon. The measures will remain in force until at least 15 December. 

What was decided?

School trips lasting more than one day (with overnight stays) such as forest classes, sea classes, etc have been banned until after the Christmas holidays.

Form groups may no longer be mixed in indoor areas such as dining rooms and school libraries.

If three pupils have tested positive for coronavirus within a 7-day-period, the entire class will be forced to quarantine. Previously this was only the case if 4 pupils had tested positive.

Staff meetings and parents’ evenings will have to take place online.

Only staff members and pupils will be allowed inside school buildings. The only exceptions to this are people from outside the school that carry out tasks that are essential to meeting the goals set out in the curriculum.

Schools have the freedom to decide to switch to distance learning or hybrid learning (face-to-face combined with distance learning) if they deem this to be necessary.

At the meeting it was decided not to lower still further the age at which children in schools are obliged to wear face coverings. Day trips such as museum visits are still allowed. When organising trips schools will of course have to abide by the measures that are applicable to the population as a whole. 

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