Reopening of schools: how will it work out in practice?

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A week ago, the National Security Council (CNS) informed Belgian citizens of the reopening of schools in early June. A decision that caused a lot of ink to flow, and which left parents with a mountain of questions.

Will the children be able to eat at school? Will there be daycare planned? Will they – or not – be able to play with their friends? Here are some answers.

Health rules present, but relaxed

To answer this question, it seems important to explain to you that if the government has authorized the schools to welcome all their students again, each Organizing Power is responsible for deciding the things they wish to put in place in order to guarantee the good health of the pupils, but also of its staff, according to its possibilities. But what is certain is that the drastic health measures initially requested by the CNS have been greatly relaxed, but are still present.

  • Parents will not be able to enter the classes: children will be welcomed at the entrance to schools or in an outdoor area and looked after by a teacher or a member of staff. Some schools have even announced that teachers will take the temperature of each child at the entrance, to ensure the good health of the students and avoid contamination.
  • Children will have to disinfect their hands very often: what we know is that hygiene measures are being reinforced in schools. Increased cleaning of the premises, in particular the toilets, presence of soap in the toilets (because if that seems logical, the reality on the ground was quite different) and hydro-alcoholic gels so that the pupils can disinfect their hands.
  • No compulsory masks: neither children nor kindergarten teachers should wear masks. For primary school teachers, it is strongly recommended but will be done at their own discretion. Wearing a mask is however recommended in the presence of adults.

Will the children be able to eat at school? Is there a daycare? Will they be able to play with their friends?

These questions keep coming back on social networks, from parents who are worried about the organization of their child’s day (s). Again, it is the responsibility of each school to make the right decision. That being said, some things seem to be taking shape.

  • Children will have the right to play with each other: but, apparently, it is recommended that the classes do not mix, especially during recess. Your child will therefore be able to have fun with the children in his class, but not with the pupils who are not part of it. Some schools therefore organize a “recess schedule” so that the children are not mixed up, while still others, which have more spaces, prefer to “privatize” certain places for each class.
  • Daycare centers will, it seems, be open: since this has been the case since the start of the crisis. If they were previously open to children of parents working outside their home, it would appear that they will be accessible to everyone from June 8. But it is important to contact your children’s school to make sure this is the case at the school they are attending.
  • For the meal, priority to cold meals: schools are still debating the possibility of babysitting children for noon in order to avoid coming and going, and therefore to minimize the risk of potential contamination. What is certain, however, is that there will be no hot meals served in schools (which is all in all quite logical since restaurants and cafeterias are still closed). Meals will not be taken in a refectory, but in class in order to avoid contact with the students. So remember to provide sandwiches and other snacks for your children’s school day!

More advice on reopening schools

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