Picture: Nanne Meulendijks

Further opening of secondary education, AOb continues to insist on priority in vaccination

On Saturday afternoon, the cabinet decided, on the advice of the OMT, that pupils in secondary education no longer need to keep a distance of five feet from each other. The other measures, such as masks in the corridors and a distance of XNUMX meters between pupil and teacher, will be maintained, and sufficient self-tests will be available.

The OMT decided this week that the 31 meter distance between students can be released. The cabinet is adopting this advice, so that secondary schools can start receiving full classes of pupils again from Monday 7 May - and no later than XNUMX June.

A condition that the AOb states that the further opening of the schools is that the OMT gives crystal clear advice that this is safe enough. That now seems to have happened. “But I do find it striking that OMT member Diederik Gommers now in the press to vaccinate teachers as a matter of priority, ”says AObdirector Henrik de Moel. “That in turn creates a lack of clarity. I can well imagine that education staff does not really feel safe yet. ”

"What other profession are you in every day with twenty to thirty others, who also change every hour, in one room?"

De AOb hammers been on it for months that education staff should be vaccinated as a matter of priority. De Moel: “Unfortunately, the cabinet has been deaf to that message for months. But I ask you: What other profession are you in every day with twenty to thirty others, who also change every hour, in one room? That is why we keep insisting: vaccinate all personnel who want it quickly. This was possible for healthcare employees and now it's the turn of education. ”


According to the government, all secondary schools will have received sufficient self-tests by May 31, so that staff members and students can test themselves preventively at home twice a week. In this way, the idea is that infections at school can be prevented.

De Moel believes that staff members with health problems or who are very concerned should not be obliged to work in entire classes again as soon as the schools reopen again. “A good solution must be found for these employees. For example, the option to continue to work from home via Zoom or Teams. ”


Opinions about further opening up secondary education are further divided in the country. Laks and the VO council would like to reopen education further, but individual school leaders sometimes do not intend to do so. For example, Ilyas Bagci, director of the Rotterdam school group Lyceum Kralingen and Mavo Centraal, stated in Trouw that he no longer sees a chance to 'change the entire organization' before the summer holidays. According to Bagci, at least four or five other Rotterdam secondary schools will no longer do this either.

In Eindhoven, Bladel and Geldrop, at least fifteen secondary schools will not return to the normal school schedule, says director-manager Martin van den Berg of three Eindhoven schools. Trouw. 'It is not yet safe. Most teachers have not yet been vaccinated, and as an employer I have to provide them with a safe working environment. '

A pity ...

In IJmuider Courant says remedial educationalist Hans Koppies that the schools have been able to reopen for much longer 'Children suffer enormous damage because they are taught behind a screen'. While epidemiologist Amrish Baidjoe of the Red Team says in the same newspaper that we 'certainly should not go too fast'.

'I work here at school in a corona fire. That doesn't feel safe '

Also within the AOb opinions differ. “I am not afraid of further opening up,” says general manager Kim van Strien. “Keeping a distance of a meter and a half is fine in class, but this is not possible in corridors and auditoriums. So I can understand that colleagues have difficulty with it. And I believe that we should make good agreements for them, so that everyone can do their job with a safe feeling. ”

History teacher and AObconsultant John Arts is against further opening. “I fall into a risk category myself and so does my wife. While I work in a corona fire here at school. I don't feel safe here. ”


Doctor has tried to work from home after consultation with his supervisor. “But then there has to be a colleague or support worker at school who keeps an eye on the class while they follow my online class. And there is already a teacher shortage, so that cannot be arranged. I tried it one day and then went back to school. ”

Mieke Hageman, English teacher and member of the secondary education sector council AOb, points out that there is also an educational issue with the opening on May 31 or June 7. In the north region there are still a few weeks to go until the summer holidays. Does it make sense for those last few weeks to change everything again?

'If all students come back to school at the same time, it will cause unrest for a few lessons'

"If all students come to school at the same time, it causes unrest," says Hageman. "I call that"sturm und drang': everyone has to find and prove his or her role in the classroom. That takes a lot of energy for a few lessons. Then you can continue with your curriculum, but then the end of the school year is already very close and the students almost have to hand in their books. What is the further advantage of this opening up, especially compared to the health risk for staff and students? "


Hageman and her colleagues have also just got used to half classes. “We have changed our education almost constantly over the past year: whole classes, half classes, online, not online, partly online - that has put enormous pressure on our colleagues. While the workload was already high before then, we were already on our toes. Just leave it that way until the summer holidays, ”she says. “We were all vaccinated in September - what's the rush? "

Doctor is completely in agreement. “It has been a bizarre busy year. Don't forget that secondary education has remained open all year round, for exam candidates and vulnerable students. Let's use the coming weeks to really start safely after the holiday. ”

More news