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Questions and answers about the coronavirus for education staff

For more than a year there have been measures in education because of corona. Schools were closed, were (partly) reopened and teaching staff were faced with sometimes difficult dilemmas and questions. The questions that the AOb you receive more often from teaching staff below.

The FAQs are divided into general topics and topics specific to the sectors. You can click on the topic or on your education sector to go directly to the answer you are looking for. Are you AObmember and your question is not listed, or if you are in doubt, please contact our employees.

Sectors

Primary school

Secondary education

Special education

MBO

HBO and WO

General topics

Rapid tests

Vaccination

Distance learning & privacy

MR and OR

Ventilation

Work & income

Illness & health

 

PRIMARY SCHOOL

Primary education has been completely open again since February 8, 2021. The questions and answers below are based on the protocol, additional Q&A of OCW and the press conference of 26 June 2021. 

Am I obliged to work at school?

De AOb doesn't think so. AObdirector Jelmer Evers says about this: 'Our position is and remains that staff members should not be forced to physically work at school if they are concerned about their health. In the protocol we have laid down that staff members who 'cannot or do not want to work physically at school for good reasons' can be exempted from work at school. Consider, for example, people with family members who fall into a risk group. In the conversation between employer and employee, a different interpretation of the activities is considered. Staff members who are seriously concerned also discuss this with the employer. During that meeting, agreements are made about a different interpretation of the activities and / or additional safety measures.
Caution! Do you end up in a discussion with your employer about this? Then sign up with us. Our lawyers and/or district administrators will then see if we can help you. It is legally unwise to refuse work without engaging us in advance. After all, the question of whether a work order is reasonable in a concrete situation must be assessed on the basis of all the circumstances of the specific case.

What about cohortation (such as dividing students into small groups or fixed pairs and maintaining floor plans) in primary education?

This measure will be deleted as of June 26, 2021. From that date, schools will no longer have to put students together in small, fixed groups that again keep their distance from other groups. That's in the letter by Minister Hugo de Jonge which he sent to the House on June 18, 2021.

Can we have another final musical?

Because the cohortation (permanently separated groups of pupils) is abolished, schools have more space to organize activities. A final musical is therefore allowed, but schools must take into account the basic rules, such as washing hands and keeping distance. Adults must keep their distance, so the hall determines how many spectators there may be. Registration is also mandatory, as is a health check if the attendees have a permanent seat.

The annual school camp, can this continue again?

The cabinet no longer advises against school camps. However, schools must organize them in line with the basic rules and the specific rules that exist for accommodations and occasions.

Can you have lunch together again in the teachers canteen and meet?

That depends on how big the team room is and how many employees can be in that room at a distance of one and a half meters.

What about the mouth caps?

These have never been compulsory in primary education. Teachers in groups 7 and 8 were, however, strongly advised to wear one. From 26 June, the mouth cap obligation will expire in all public indoor spaces. Only colleagues in secondary education are required to wear a face mask.

Is it still necessary to work with staggered breaks, start and end times?

No, that is no longer necessary, OCW reports in their frequently asked questions. Parents must keep their distance, also in the schoolyard.

I belong to a risk group, do I have to go to school to work?

In the protocol states that you can in principle be exempted from work at school. In his letter to Parliament of 3 February 2021, Minister of Education Arie Slob also endorses this. The choice lies with the employee in consultation with the employer. So consult with your employer to give substance to working remotely and to discuss the concerns.
Based on the employer's prevention task, as described in the Working Conditions Act, it is obvious that educational staff belonging to the risk group are instructed not to work at school. Unless the school has taken all necessary measures to prevent additional risks. In that case you can choose to go to school in consultation with your employer. Are you a member of the AOb and does it come to a discussion? Then take always in touch Contact the Legal Department for advice and mediation. Incidentally, the protocol also states that staff members who do not belong to a risk group, but who have a good reason not to be physically at school, can be exempted from work at school.

Are students allowed to go to school if they have a cold?

No, children between the ages of 4 and 12 are not allowed to go to school if they have a cold. This concerns a runny nose, sneezing, cold and sore throat. Pupils who, in addition to having a cold, have a fever, are short of breath or cough 'more than incidentally' stay at home. Pupils are allowed to go to school if they occasionally cough or have known chronic respiratory complaints, asthma or hay fever without fever and shortness of breath. Read more on the RIVM site. Despite other relaxations, the cabinet is sticking to this policy. This is partly due to summer holidays abroad and the risks that this entails. At the start of the new school year, the cabinet will reconsider whether this is still necessary.

Can gym class continue?

Yes, gym class can continue. In primary education, lessons may be given both indoors and outdoors. There does not have to be a distance between students and between the student and teacher.

What are the rules for music lessons in corona time?

Specifically applies to music education: singing and the use of wind instruments is permitted for pupils in primary education.

What about reporting infections if students have tested positive?

The guidelines of the RIVM for testing and quarantine continue to apply. So keep reporting infections and follow the advice of the GGD and provide information to this service. In the event of a positive case at school, the GGD determines which (close) contacts must be quarantined and who must be tested.

If a class or group of children goes into quarantine, will they be homeschooled?

Schools are asked to 'offer them as much continuity as possible', but there is no 'right to lessons'. In short, the school is not obliged to offer hybrid education if a class or group of children has to stay at home. For example, the school can provide homework. If the entire school has to be closed temporarily, the team will switch to distance learning.

My employer wants me to do other work, such as cleaning, updating administration or monitoring compliance with corona regulations. Is that allowed?

The employer is allowed to give 'reasonable' work assignments, but what can be considered reasonable in a concrete situation is difficult to say in advance. In a conflict about this, the judge will only judge afterwards. However, you can expect to be deployed as much as possible in line with your normal activities. On the other hand, for example, more flexibility can be expected from you if you cannot perform normal work because you live with someone who is vulnerable according to the protocol. We advise you to discuss this with your employer. State your objections, but at the same time think along from the perspective of the employer. If you cannot find an answer, please contact us.

What if I have had contact with someone who is infected with corona?

Report this to your employer and follow the instructions of your employer, the GGD and / or the company doctor. For the time that you do not work because of this situation, you will continue to be paid full wages.

Where can I find useful downloads with the precautions?

The ministry, together with the PO council, has produced four different posters with an overview of the precautionary measures. View the overview of the posters via this link.
also look at this link AOb Participation with tips for working safely during Covid-19

Where can I find information about ventilation?

De AOb has written a flyer about ventilation especially for primary education. Download the flyer AOb ventilation

 

SECONDARY EDUCATION

The secondary schools will reopen completely from 31 May. From then on, pupils no longer have to keep a distance from each other, as was the case from 1 March. The distance rule does apply between pupils and teaching staff. View the protocols and the service document via this link. 

When will secondary schools fully open?

Schools in secondary education will be fully reopened from 31 May 2021 and no later than 7 June. This means that the students no longer have to keep their distance from each other. A change with the situation as it was in March (with the exception of VSO) in which pupils did have to keep a distance from each other and in practice were not at school every day. All pupils still have to keep their distance from the teaching staff. The mouth masks measure in the corridors will be maintained. Read the news item with a response from the AOb. 

Is a secondary school required to open fully?

The cabinet wants all secondary schools to open fully from 31 May and no later than 7 June. Pupils no longer have to keep their distance from each other, but they still have to keep their distance from the teaching staff. The Outbreak Management Team (OMT) wrote clearly in an advice that an opening in this way is only possible under certain conditions. This means: a strict testing policy in which all students carry out a self-test twice a week under supervision. Those who have tested positive should be quarantined immediately. For the AOb the OMT advice is leading and the clear condition of the OMT shows that schools must be sure that pupils do a self-test twice a week under supervision. “That seems unworkable to me in practice”, said AObdirector Henrik de Moel. "Moreover, it is uncontrollable for a school whether pupils indeed perform such a self-test twice a week."

With the decision, the cabinet is not only ignoring the OMT advice, but also the Working Conditions Act that obliges school boards to ensure the safety of employees and to take measures if necessary. The AOb advises the teaching staff at secondary schools to work with the participation council to see to what extent the school can be opened and what additional measures are needed for this. The mr must agree. Check the AObguidelines for this. It may therefore mean that a school - despite the cabinet decision - can only open partially. The ministry also sees this reality and writes on their site that 'schools cannot be held to the impossible'.

Why is there no waiting for everyone to be vaccinated?

From the start of the corona crisis, the government has prioritized the continuity of education and the prevention of delays. The AOb has always insisted, in the many consultations with the ministry, that education staff should be given priority when vaccinating, or at least for people belonging to a risk group. Other unions and employers' organizations supported this request. Minister Slob left the NOS know after the cabinet decision that teachers also let the interests of the students prevail 'in these complicated times'. In doing so, he appeals to the willingness of the professional group to put the interests of the students first.

What about wearing mouth masks within the school?

Pupils and all teaching staff wear a mask when they move around the school. Once you are in a fixed seat or standing position, the mouth nose mask can be removed. Teachers do not have to wear a mask when they walk through their classroom. However, they must keep one and a half meters away from the students. Persons who are unable to wear a mouth nose mask due to a disability or illness do not have to put them on. As of June 26, 2021, the mask obligation in public spaces will expire. Secondary education is an exception to this.

Can we have graduation ceremonies again?

The government no longer advises against this. However, the distance rule must be observed, which determines how many people can be present in a room.

Can I be required to teach at school if I am concerned about my health?

Healthy teachers, support staff and other teaching staff are in principle available to provide education at school. Discuss concerns with your employer and look for solutions together. In the conversation with your employer, it is assessed whether and how agreements can be reached about the precise details of the work. The AOb finds that staff with health problems or those who are very concerned should not be obliged to return to work in the classes. “A good solution must be found for these employees. For example, the option to continue to work from home via Zoom or Teams. ” If you get into a discussion about this, it is wise to visit the company doctor and if necessary contact with the AOb to record

What is meant by 'practical education in pre-vocational secondary education'?

The vocational programs, profile modules and vocational electives. Think of Production, Installation and Energy (PIE) or Circular and sustainable construction. During the previous school closure, these subjects often almost completely stopped, the Ministry of Education notes. Because practical subjects, unlike general subjects, do not lend themselves to distance learning and in order to prevent pre-vocational secondary education students from running even further behind, schools remain obliged to provide these lessons at school, according to the Ministry of Education. Gym and CKV are not practical classes.

What about open days or trial lessons for students in group 8?

This may continue, but the distance rule must be observed between adults. The size of the school and the rooms determines how many people are allowed in that room. If parents come to an open day, they must keep their distance. If there is not enough space, schools may consider limiting or not allowing parents to come along. Also pay attention to the mouth cap obligation when moving. With a view to enforceability, this also applies to
eighth graders and their parents when they arrive at their new school.

The questions below are mainly aimed at working at school during corona.

Which safety requirements must secondary education meet with regard to corona?

At the beginning of September, VOION published an addition to the health and safety catalog, specifically aimed at corona. Employers must make an inventory of the contamination risks in schools and indicate how they are going to tackle them. There is one for this corona checklist added to the Arbo catalog. In addition, the trade unions and the employers' umbrella organization have in the summer, based on the RIVM guidelines, updated the corona protocol. The regulations marked in red in the protocol must be applied by schools in order to comply with government-established safety and hygiene measures. The non-marked recommendations are practical advice, which schools are allowed to implement themselves.
Also download our brochure: Covid-19 and safe working for secondary education.

During the breaks, the students do not keep enough distance from the staff. I am being asked for surveillance, but I am very concerned about my own safety

Employees who are concerned talk to their employer about any additional agreements. The basis for these 'additional agreements' are in any case the mandatory measures from the protocol and the Working Conditions Catalog vo. If one or more of the measures are not met, for example the one-and-a-half meter rule, the question arises whether you as an employee can be obliged to perform work in that circumstance. In principle, this can be an unsafe work situation and the employer must first ensure that work can be done safely.

Regarding the practical subjects, the corona protocol states that the teaching staff involved and the school management should consult each other when keeping a distance between pupil and teacher is not always possible. What does this mean?

If the school management and the teacher involved both agree, it is allowed to deviate from the XNUMX meter distance rule. Keeping your distance is not always possible in practical subjects such as technology, gym or handicrafts. Make agreements about this and see if adjustments are possible in giving instructions. AObdirector Henrik de Moel said about this that education staff should never be forced to deviate from the rule if they do not want to. Do you give gym? On the site of the Royal Society for Physical Education (KVLO), protocols for physical education can be found at secondary schools en VSO schools. 

Who pays for my mouth mask?

Wearing these masks is now compulsory in secondary schools. The masking obligation applies within the school building, except in the (classroom) lesson situation. This means that the masking obligation also applies during breaks in the auditorium, only when people eat can the mask off. If children are outside in the schoolyard during the break, the obligation does not apply. For the staff you can compare it with the fact that in construction it is mandatory to put on a construction helmet. If wearing a mouth mask is prescribed by the employer as an own health and safety measure, the costs of this 'protective equipment' will be borne by the employer, just as with the construction helmet in construction.

What agreements have been made for special secondary education (VSO)?

The most recent protocol states that students no longer need to keep their distance from one another. However, they still have to keep their distance from the teaching staff. Teachers and support staff must also keep their distance. The trade unions and employers draw up the protocols. This should help schools to arrange practical matters. It also describes student transport. The VSO protocol was amended in October in connection with the urgent advice for secondary education to use a mouth mask. VSO follows the guideline for secondary education. Download the latest vso protocol from this page. 

I am suddenly scheduled for more classes than usual. Is that allowed?

That depends on the space in your standard annual task. The maximum lesson task, usually 720 hours, may in principle not be exceeded unless you agree to this. Do you have doubts whether you are being used too much? Then take contact the AOb and send your membership number, the annual task and any changes.

How can I myself contribute to the best possible implementation of the precautionary measures?

You can contribute ideas about the school's script, which contains concrete elaborations and measures from the protocol. There are also posters available with the most important measures that you can download and print. This increases awareness. Addressing each other in a friendly manner about violations of the agreements made may be exciting, but often ensures the desired effect.

 

SPECIAL EDUCATION

The VSO and the schools for practical education are completely open, even during the lockdown. Why is that?

The vast majority of pupils in practical and secondary special education follow practical lessons and / or are in a vulnerable position. That's why physical education remains the norm here, it said Ministry of Education. Once at school, one and a half meters should be kept as far as possible.

What do the new obligations and advice - as of 8 February 2021 - mean for special (primary) education?

In principle, schools should work with staggered start and end times. Particularly in special (primary) education, this can cause organizational problems with student transport. The solution is customization, it writes latest corona protocol: 'It is up to the schools to make their own decisions about this. Important principles here are limiting contact moments to prevent the spread of the corona virus and the continuity of physical education. '

Do students in VSO and PRO also have to keep a distance of XNUMX meters from each other?

No, this is no longer necessary. From June 7, 2021, the distance rule for students has been deleted and schools can provide full physical education.

What about special primary education (SBO) and special education for children up to the age of twelve?

PO council writes about this: 'It is conceivable that in certain cases schools for special (primary) education with many pupils in a vulnerable position – including pupils who qualify for emergency care – will remain open in their entirety. This is a decision of the competent authority.'

Are children in so-called newcomer classes (primary education) or international transition classes (secondary education) allowed to go to school?

Schools with newcomer classes or international transition classes determine together with the municipality which pupils are in a vulnerable position for whom it is necessary to
organize physical education. They can choose to provide physical education to all pupils in the newcomer classes or international transition classes, provided that all these pupils are seen as vulnerable. This option applies to primary schools that are linked to an asylum seekers' center, primary schools with three or more newcomer classes and international transition classes in secondary education.

How is it arranged for residential education?

Schools at residential institutions will in principle remain open. This concerns schools
associated with open and closed youth care institutions and judicial juvenile institutions. It is especially important for these young people to have structure within their integral
day program, writes OCW. They therefore fall under the exception 'pupils in a vulnerable position'.

Am I obliged to work at school?

De AOb doesn't think so. AObdirector Jelmer Evers says about this: 'Our position is and remains that staff members should not be forced to physically work at school if they are concerned about their health. In the protocol we have established that staff members who 'cannot or do not want to work physically at school for good reasons' can be exempted from work at school. Consider, for example, people with family members who fall into a risk group. In consultation with the employer and employee, a different interpretation of the activities is considered. Staff members who are seriously concerned also discuss this with the employer. 'During that meeting, agreements are made about a different interpretation of the activities and / or additional safety measures.' Activities such as team meetings, study days, celebrations or parent evenings take place remotely in any case. The protocol says about this: 'School boards cannot oblige their staff to be present for other matters than teaching.'

 

MBO

From 1 March, MBO students are allowed to return to the MBO institution at least one day a week. Furthermore, education is still a problemnd place. What may take place at the locations are exams, practical training and supervision of vulnerable students, including MBO level 1 and level 2.

When will the MBO institutions open?

From 1 March 2021, students may again receive one day a week of physical education at an MBO institution. This reported Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the press conference in February. At the institution, students must keep one and a half meters away from each other and with the teaching staff and wear a mouth mask outside of the lessons.
Vulnerable students are also allowed to go to the institution, just like students who have to take tests or exams and students who follow practical training. These groups of students were already allowed to go to the locations, because they were excluded from distance learning. Also read the frequently asked questions via the national government about the school opening.

What is the outlook for next academic year 2021/2022?

MBO institutions must prepare for two scenarios for the new academic year: one without and one with one and a half meters. The cabinet will determine what is possible on 13 August. So, MBO and higher education must take two scenarios into account, said Minister Hugo de Jonge and Prime Minister Mark Rutte during the press conference on 18 June.

Can internships in MBO continue?

For internships, the rules that apply to the sector / industry where the internship is conducted apply. If those activities continue, the internship can also continue.

What applies to training courses in contact professions in branches that are now closed?

Training courses in these professions can continue and for the time being the sector protocols can be used as they applied until now, unless otherwise determined later.

Can the libraries of MBO institutions remain open, also for study places?

This applies that they may only remain open to vulnerable students. The government advises libraries to work with reservations.

What applies to research activities?

As now, research activities can only continue at the location of the institution if they are strictly location-bound.

Is it allowed to travel to and from the institution?

Yes, travel to and from the institution by staff and students is seen as a necessary journey. The agreements about spreading teaching times and thus staggered travel will of course remain in force.

When do I have a crucial profession?

Personnel required for educational activities is seen as a crucial profession. This means that, just like in the spring, emergency shelter would be available for children of employees of MBO and higher education institutions. This does not apply to researchers.

The questions and answers below are more general in nature and / or aimed at working at school during corona.

See also: it service document secondary vocational education version of 17 March 2021 which contains all the measures taken by the cabinet. The frequently asked questions about mbo on the website of the national government
No time to read the entire service document? Then check this infographic containing the main points. The guidelines (version 21 May 2021) that should help institutions to implement the measures of the cabinet are in this document.
Info about it transport to secondary vocational education institutions and public transport
Also download: Corona and workload MBO (flyer AOb)

Can my mbo institution withdraw my vacation?

You are entitled to thirty vacation days per year. Check your holiday scheme - if necessary request the scheme from the works council (or) - when these days have been set in the year. Subsequently, in very exceptional cases, your employer can withdraw the holiday leave with your permission. If, for example, you have to cancel a booked holiday, your employer must reimburse the costs.

Can I be obliged to work in the evenings?

Evening work is possible, but the Working Hours Act must be observed, as must the 40-hour working week (pro rata for part-timers). The CAO-MBO states that the employer can assign work a maximum of two evenings per week after consultation with the individual employee. Your employer must, however, take into account the working hours that have already been worked. If you agree, you can decide together with your employer to work more than two evenings a week.
If you are older than 55 or have been working for XNUMX years, there is no obligation to work evening work. Unless the organizational importance of your institution is more important. In times of this corona outbreak, this will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

HBO and WO

On April 26, all students may again receive physical education at the school one day a week. The educational institutions in higher professional education and university have been closed since 16 December. Education takes place remotely as much as possible. However, exams, exams, practical training and supervision of vulnerable students were allowed to take place on location. 

What is the outlook for next academic year 2021/2022?

Higher education must prepare for two scenarios for the new academic year: one without and one with one and a half meters. The cabinet will determine what is possible on 13 August. Universities and universities of applied sciences must take into account two scenarios, said Minister Hugo de Jonge and Prime Minister Mark Rutte during the press conference on 18 June.

When will the universities and colleges open again?

The cabinet confirmed during the press conference on April 20 that higher education can be reopened from April 26, 2021. All students receive one day of physical education per week at the institution. Also read our news item. 

How does the school opening from April 26th work?

All students must receive physical education at the institution at least one day per week. The distance rule will be maintained and it must be possible to fit into the public transport agreements on spreading, so that in practice only a limited number of students is allowed at the institutions. Also be part of the opening the self-tests that employees and students can use as a preventive measure and with which infections can be detected earlier. The masking obligation and the other RIVM measures remain in force in higher education.

Is it mandatory for students and employees to use a self-test?

No, the use of the self-test is always voluntary and is done independently, according to the ministry in their frequently asked questions and answers. Taking a self-test is not conditional for the individual student or teacher for access to education. Therefore, students do not need to provide proof of a negative test to gain access to the educational institution. Read more about self-testing in this folder from OCW. 

Can hbo internships continue?

For internships, the rules that apply to the sector / industry where the internship is conducted apply. If those activities continue, the internship can also continue.

What applies to training courses in contact professions in branches that are now closed?

Training courses in these professions can continue and for the time being the sector protocols can be used as they applied until now, unless otherwise determined later.

Can the libraries of higher education institutions remain open, also for study places?

What recently applied for a period of two weeks will apply to this, namely that they may only remain open to vulnerable students. The government advises libraries to work with reservations.

What applies to research activities?

As now, research activities can only continue at the location of the institution if they are strictly location-bound.

Is it allowed to travel to and from the institution?

Yes, travel to and from the institution by staff and students is seen as a necessary journey. The agreements about spreading teaching times and thus staggered travel will of course remain in force.

When do I have a crucial profession?

Personnel required for educational activities is seen as a crucial profession. This means that, just like in the spring, emergency shelter would be available for children of employees of MBO and higher education institutions. This does not apply to researchers.

The questions and answers below are more general in nature and / or aimed at working at school during corona.

Also check the latest service document for higher education via the national government
And the frequently asked questions on website Rijksoverheid hbo and wo

My employer wants me to work on Saturdays. Is that allowed?

Your employer has agreed a working hours scheme with the employee participation council (mr) or the works council (or). This contains the times when the institution is open, when employees are deployed for work, breaks and other rest times. So check these regulations to see which times apply at your institution.

Due to an adjusted corona schedule, my employer requests me to work in the evening and / or weekends. Is this allowed?

Your employer may not automatically change the working hours to weekends or evenings on which you have other obligations. Your interests must be taken into account in this. In addition, there must be consultation and a change must be announced in time, so that you as an employee have time to look for a solution if you have other private obligations. Also see this article waarin AObsector manager Roelf van der Ploeg explains. The scope of this article also applies to university education.


QUICK TESTS

What do the rapid tests mean for primary and secondary education?

If there are no complaints, the staff can test themselves for corona at home up to twice a week. Is the result on such a preventive quick test positive? Then the person in question is requested to be tested by the GGD. As confirmation of the result, and because the GGD can then start the source and contact investigation. Also read this news item.

What is the background to the rapid tests in primary and secondary education?

In recent months, various schools in primary and secondary education have participated in pilots with corona rapid tests at school. Rapid tests are supplementary to the existing measures and, according to the minister, add value to the continuity of education. Possible infections are detected early, which prevents outbreaks. Please note, the rapid tests have a preventive character. In case of complaints that indicate a corona infection, you still have to go to the GGD test street.

Can I be required to take a quick test?

No. You are free to decide whether you want to take a quick test. Refusal may not lead to exclusion from activities or have negative consequences for the legal status.

How is my privacy guaranteed?

You are not obliged to share the results. Employees are asked to report a positive result to the school, so that the school can take measures to prevent an outbreak. Schools must treat this information confidentially. Infections of pupils and educational staff are not registered by the school at an individual level. The school will have to anonymously inform the students and other staff about the corona infection. The advice is to appoint a permanent contact person within the school to whom the test results will be passed on.

What about self-testing in MBO and higher education?

From April 26, all students in higher education are allowed to go back to campus one day a week. The cabinet believes that self-tests can help with this and hopes that students and education staff will want to test themselves preventively. SURF, the ICT organization, is going to lend a hand with this. Through the digital portal students and staff from higher education can order self-tests free of charge. The self-tests for MBO will be available in June. More information about self-testing can be found in this folder from the national government. 


VACCINE

Do educators qualify for priority vaccination?

If it is up to the AOb lies well, for those who want it of course. Until now, the cabinet has opted not to consider the profession of people in the priority issue. The government primarily wants to protect the most vulnerable people and reduce the pressure on healthcare. That is why there is priority for healthcare workers, people with a medical risk and people over 60 years of age.

Can my employer oblige me to be vaccinated against corona?

No, in principle the employer cannot oblige this. That would be contrary to the right to physical integrity. An employer can submit the request to you. You ultimately decide for yourself and you can therefore refuse the request. In exceptional cases it could be asked of you. For example, when you work with very vulnerable students and / or colleagues and it is not possible for medical reasons to observe the precautions - one and a half meters away, mouth and nose masks, et cetera. In that case, it must first be checked whether you cannot perform the same activities in a different (digital) way, or whether you will (temporarily) receive other replacement activities. Also read this article about vaccination. 

Can I be fired if I don't want to get vaccinated?

In principle, this does not constitute grounds for dismissal in education. You can make the decision yourself whether or not to have yourself vaccinated, without any negative consequences for the legal status. In exceptional circumstances you may be asked to do so (see previous question).

What if I get corona and I did not want to be vaccinated. Can my employer withhold my wages?

The employer may not withhold wages if an employee reports sick and is infected with corona. Not even when the employee has made a conscious choice not to be vaccinated. This is only allowed if the illness was caused deliberately by the employee. According to the judge, this is not easily the case.

Am I obliged to tell my employer whether or not I have been vaccinated?

Whether or not someone has been vaccinated is special personal data within the meaning of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In principle, any form of processing is prohibited. In principle, the employer may not ask about this and you do not have to tell them. In an employment relationship, the Dutch Data Protection Authority also indicates that due to the relationship of dependence it is also not possible to freely give permission for this. The assessment of the possible employability of an employee in relation to the vaccine is therefore reserved for the company doctor or occupational health and safety service.

 

DISTANCE EDUCATION & PRIVACY

When it comes to privacy: should I tell my employer that I am infected with corona?

No, you do not have to inform your employer about the nature and cause of your illness.
You can indicate to your employer that you further discuss the nature of your absenteeism with the company doctor. You can of course tell your employer voluntarily and this is not uncommon in a normal relationship. In principle, your employer may not record or share this information with others.

Can I be required to teach online?

When necessary, teachers and other employees can in principle be expected to participate in (forms of) online teaching. The school may, within the meaning of the GDPR, have a necessary interest that outweighs the (individual) interest in privacy.
In that case, it is therefore not necessary for the individual employee to consent to distance learning. This necessary importance for the school will often lie in ensuring that education continues as best as possible.

I don't feel comfortable with the idea that lessons can be recorded, what can I do?

The privacy-limiting measures that distance learning entail must be strictly necessary, proportional and effective. In addition, your employer must take technical and organizational measures to minimize the chance of possible dissemination of recordings and other data. For example, it is advisable that your employer agrees with students and parents that it is not allowed to make recordings of the education and that it is also not allowed to distribute these recordings (for example via social media).

Can I object to distance learning?

Under the GDPR, there is always a right to a specific individual objection. For example, there may be specific circumstances where the invasion of privacy is extra burdensome for you. In that case, it is wise to request the privacy regulations of the school / board from the data protection officer. In that objection, it is again tested whether the invasion of privacy, in this specific case, is justified. These regulations also include the measures mentioned as well as the considerations on the basis of which certain choices have been made, whereby the right to privacy must be explicitly included.

More information about privacy in schools 

Who pays for the costs of distance learning?

The school board is and remains responsible for the educational process, even if this is done remotely. The school board is also responsible for the costs. For example for staff who work extra hours, or for devices for distance learning for specific learners. In the first instance, boards can use their own funding and reserves for this.

MR and OR

How does the (m) mr co-decide on measures?

Adjustments that schools make in corona time must be done in consultation between the board, the school management, the teachers and the mr. The primary education council and the secondary education council, together with the unions protocols made for the different education sectors. The school board must make agreements with the (g) mr about the details of such a protocol at the level of the school or schools and other measures that are necessary due to corona. Because it concerns measures 'in the field of safety, health and welfare policy', the (g) mr has the right of consent.

Measures that specifically concern the safety of the personnel must be made with the consent of the p (g) mr. The (p) mr can also request advice from an external expert (for example GGD, Arbodienst or association). Even if the school applies sanctions for non-compliance with corona measures, those sanctions must at least be approved by the (g) mr.

I am concerned about my own safety, that of my colleagues and students. What can the mr do? 

  1. Share your concerns with your colleagues and school management. Discuss how you can create a safe educational place. Which agreements are possible? And which measures, for example regarding hygiene, ventilation and spreading groups of students over several rooms. If desired, ask for advice from a consultant of the AOb.
  2. Card at the mr. The mr has legal rights and the pmr represents the staff in consultation with the employer about the working conditions. The mr can promote dialogue between staff and managers and create the conditions for support and proper measures. For advice and support, the mr can contact the AOb.
  3. Report to the SZW Inspectorate (formerly the labor inspectorate). Does an employer fail to take measures prescribed in the Working Conditions Catalog, even after consultation with the mr? Then every employee, the mr or a trade union can make a report to the inspection. There is a separate report form for this. Reports by the mr or by a trade union are always dealt with. The Inspectorate may order work to be stopped if measures to prevent or limit the risk of contamination are seriously not taken.

Which points are even more important to pay attention to as a (g) mr?

  • Workload: how is excessive workload and a risk of failure prevented?
  • Stay-at-home students: children who belong to a risk group can be exempted from physical education. The school can choose to offer a form of distance education for these children. The school is currently not obliged to do this.
  • Exemption from work at school: colleagues who fall into the risk group or have family members who fall into this group can be exempted from work at school. This decision rests with the employee who will consult with the employer. The GMR can ensure that this is done carefully.
  • To test: how does the temporary priority policy work out for the teaching staff at your school?
  • How are educational backlogs made up and should the policy regarding testing and retention be adjusted?

On what grounds does the (r) mr have a right of advice or consent with regard to corona?

Many of the corona measures directly affect the structure of education. This concerns matters that are in the school plan, but are deviated from. According to the law, the mr still has the right of consent, corona does not set this position aside. However, mrs have to make faster decisions, because it is an emergency situation. That is why boards can expect full cooperation and diligence and it is wise as a mr to keep talking to the school management more often.

There are several rights of consent at issue. The (g) mr almost always agrees with the following subjects:

  • Measures that concern the health risks for the education staff, the staff section of the mr is in agreement with this.
  • Measures that concern the health of the pupils: the entire (g) mr agrees.
  • Decisions about rules that will apply to students: the student section of the mr must have the right of consent (student status)
  • Establishing sanctions for non-compliance with corona rules

Does the mr have a role in the curriculum and distance learning?

From a legal point of view, in most cases the mr has the right of consent with emergency measures, because these measures have a major impact on the way in which education is organized. The school has described this structure of education in the school plan, and an emergency plan usually means a deviation from it. This is an emergency situation, so that decisions usually have to be taken quickly. Therefore, full cooperation and diligence can be expected from the MR.

If it concerns joint measures for all schools under one school board, it is not up to the mr but the joint participation council (gmr) to act.

What are the specific points for attention for the (g) mr and the works council (or)?

  1. What measures are necessary because of the risks to the health of the teaching staff?
  2. Distance education: do we organize that ourselves as a school, or are there opportunities for collaboration with other schools?
  3. Do all students have sufficient access to a digital learning environment? Is it necessary for the school to organize facilities for this?
  4. Clear and timely information to parents and students. What measures are being taken, why, and for how long?

Are there other rules for the WC in times of crisis?

The Participation in Schools Act (Wms) and the Works Councils Act (Wor) do not have an emergency scenario with which the rights of a participation body are put aside. If the school board wants to make a decision, this must be submitted to the employee participation body. The normal advice and approval process is thus followed. When it comes to compliance with the rules in the field of working conditions and working and rest times of employees, we work together with a prevention officer and the Health and Safety Service. If adjustments are necessary due to the corona virus or if new measures are taken, consultation with the employee participation body is necessary.

Following the decision to reopen primary schools on February 8, the AOb a helping hand. Click here.

 

WORK & INCOME

Is my employer liable if I become infected with the corona virus while using public transport to work?

In principle, commuting does not fall under the employer's duty of care. This is because the employer has no say in the design and safety of public transport.

Can I hold my employer liable if I become infected with the corona virus while working?

Firstly, there must be demonstrable financial damage. In addition, it must be clear that you contracted the infection at work and that the employer has violated his duty of care, for example because of non-compliance with the regulations from the protocols. Certainly proving that the contamination has taken place at work will not be easy.
If you still see leads for this, for example due to witness statements or multiple infections, we recommend that you contact with the AOb to record.

Do I have to make up for hours if I cannot work because of the corona virus?

School boards cannot oblige you to make up for hours. In this case, not being able to work is force majeure and is in principle at the expense and risk of the employer by law.

What about my income in times of corona?

Your income situation depends on the type of contract and the nature of the employment relationship. If you fall under one of the education collective agreements and have a permanent contract, the school board must continue to pay you. It is more complicated with zero-hour contracts, min-max contracts, temporary employment contracts and if you are self-employed. We have listed for you what you are entitled to per contract. View that post via this link. 

Can the travel allowance be stopped if I work from home for a longer period of time?

Agreements on this have been included in the collective labor agreements for primary and secondary education. In primary education, employers are allowed to stop the allowance from the third week. In secondary education, the allowance can be reduced proportionally if more than one week has not been traveled to the workplace. However, the employers' umbrella organizations and unions advise the school boards not to give priority to withdrawing the travel allowance. After all, employees now also incur costs at home. In addition, there are tax rules of the Tax Authorities: employers may continue to pay the fixed travel allowance (which is available in primary and secondary education) for six weeks.
The collective labor agreements for mbo, hbo and wo do not contain hard rules about when the travel allowance should be discontinued. The agreements can differ per institution. However, the same tax rules apply as stated above.

What is my employer's responsibility?

Your employer is responsible for a safe and healthy workplace. This means that the risks of contamination must be identified and appropriate measures must then be taken to minimize the risk of contamination. Think of enough soap, tissues and extra cleaning of keyboards, door handles and telephones. The costs for these resources are borne by the employer. If your employer asks to buy resources himself, he must reimburse you for those costs.

I have unemployment benefits or WIA benefits, will it continue to be paid?

Your benefit will continue to be paid. See this message of the FNV for the most frequently asked questions about corona and benefits.

Could ongoing reintegration be delayed by the corona crisis?

The company doctor continues to provide analyzes and advice and the employer is obliged to carry out these as well as possible. The employer may not be able to implement a reintegration process for individual employees due to the corona virus. The employer must make a note of this in, for example, the action plan. For questions about reintegration, it is best to contact your employer and / or the company doctor.

SICKNESS & HEALTH

What do I do if rules from the protocol are not enforced or complied with?

The distance measure is not an informal advice, but a necessary measure to guarantee the safety of pupils, students and employees. Your employer is responsible for this on the basis of the Working Conditions Act. A good step is to raise the issue with colleagues and look for solutions. You can also report this to the school management or the board. They are responsible for compliance with the agreements made. Doesn't it help? Then contact the participation council. If that does not help, a report to the Education Inspectorate or contact the AOb the next step. We will see if our district managers or lawyers can help.

Can my employer oblige me to take a corona test?

No, your employer cannot make this mandatory. In principle, the employer may not infringe on physical integrity. This constitutional right may only be limited in exceptional cases, where there must be a legal basis (which does not yet exist) and the criteria of effectiveness, necessity and proportionality are met. For your safety - and the safety of your colleagues - there may of course be situations in which it is wise to cooperate with a corona test. Ultimately, this choice is a personal consideration.

I don't feel well, do I have to come to work?

Are you sick and are you unable to work? Then you report sick according to the normal rules. You don't have to work. The emphasis is on recovery and reintegration. The normal rules regarding continued payment of wages in the CLA apply in this case. The cause of illness (whether or not corona) does not matter.

What if there is a suspicion that an employee has the coronavirus but this has not been determined?

If there is a suspicion that an employee is infected with the corona virus, the employer may request the employee to stay at home or go home. This may be because the employee indicates that he / she has been in certain places or that he / she has been in contact with certain people. It is also possible that the employee has certain symptoms (fever, cold, cough). Under normal circumstances it is not customary for an employee to be at home, but under current circumstances this is possible to protect others. If the employee is not sick, but only needs to stay at home at the employer's request, the full wage must continue to be paid.

 

VENTILATION

What is the advice if the ventilation is insufficient?

Raise the problem or questions you have to your management and / or board. And if necessary at the mr. Schools had until October 1, 2020 to find out whether their buildings meet the standards for ventilation. If the school cannot solve the ventilation problem itself, the school management should report it as an urgent problem to a facility service or the board. The management or school board is obliged to ensure that there is sufficient ventilation and to realize extra ventilation where necessary. The costs should absolutely not be a reason to postpone necessary measures. The (g) mr has the right of consent for measures in the field of safety, health and welfare. 

What can I do myself to improve the ventilation in my room?

Regularly air the room for ten to fifteen minutes, for example by opening windows and doors against each other. At least do this during breaks and before, between and after school. You can also ask the management for a CO2 meter. The CO2 concentration is a good yardstick to know whether there is sufficient air exchange. What you should not do is use a fan or separate air conditioning. It RIVM advises to avoid systems where air recirculation takes place.

What about the role of aerosols in the spread of the coronavirus?

The RIVM writes that under certain circumstances contamination can take place via virus particles that can travel a greater distance in the small droplets (aerosols). This is the case in rooms where there is little ventilation or many people are together for a longer period of time, such as classrooms. The RIVM is asking extra attention for this. The CO2 concentration is a good yardstick to determine whether the ventilation is sufficient. Read more in the flyer of the AOb about this.

Where can I find information about ventilation?

De AOb has written a flyer about ventilation especially for primary and secondary education. Download the flyer for it primary education. The brochure of secondary education can be found here. 

 

Are you a member of the AOb and do you have a question? You can then contact with our employees of the Information and Advice Center. You can also mail via: info@aob.nl

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