AOb: 'OMT sets an unfeasible condition for the safe opening of secondary education'
Secondary schools cannot meet the most important safety requirement of the OMT: testing all pupils twice a week. “The further opening of secondary education therefore seems practically impossible to me,” says AObdirector Henrik de Moel.
The Cabinet decided last weekend that secondary schools can continue to be opened. The 31 meter distance between pupils can be released, so that all pupils can come back to school at the same time. According to the cabinet, all schools should be fully reopened between May 7 and June XNUMX at the latest.
The OMT advice on which the decision of the cabinet is based, became available later this weekend. “It turns out that the OMT has stated clearly that further opening of education is only justified if all students carry out a self-test twice a week,” says AObdirector Henrik de Moel. “That seems unworkable to me in practice. Experience in higher education shows that self-testing is not very popular among young people. Moreover, it is uncontrollable for a school whether pupils do indeed perform such a self-test twice a week. ”
It is almost certain that more teachers will become infected
The OMT warns in the advice that letting go of the one-half meter measure can lead to more infections. Among young people, but also among their parents and teachers. According to the OMT, the number of infections can be 'almost completely reduced' by an active testing policy of twice a week. 'The OMT is of the opinion that further opening of secondary education can only be carried out if all pupils carry out a self-test under supervision twice a week,' the advice reports.
Pupils who are tested positive must immediately be quarantined by the OMT. "Under these conditions, the risk for teachers of becoming infected is considered no greater than under current circumstances."
However, this condition is practically impracticable, says De Moel. "And therefore it is almost certain that more teachers will be infected with the further opening of secondary education than under the current circumstances, in which students still have a five-foot gap." And a covid infection can - the OMT emphasizes again - lead to 'serious illness or hospitalization' and 'long-term complaints that can sometimes be very limiting and even disabling in nature'.
De Moel also points out that employers - or school boards - are responsible for a safe and healthy workplace according to health and safety legislation. "That is not the case under this practically impracticable condition."
The definitive solution to the problem, according to De Moel, is to vaccinate teachers as a priority. However, according to the OMT, this is no longer a feasible option at the moment. 'Organizing and executing a vaccination campaign, including the build-up of immunity after the vaccination, can no longer be realized in the remaining school period.'
"But OMT member Diederik Gommers shouted in the press last weekend to vaccinate teachers as a matter of priority, ”says De Moel. “And there we hammer like AOb for many months on. If the cabinet had taken this up, we would not be in this discussion now. Then everyone could go back to school safely: the students and the teachers. ”
Also check our frequently asked questions about the opening of schools in secondary education.