The atmosphere at some high schools in the city was exuberant on Monday morning.
For the first time in months, the Montessori College and the Van Maerlant Lyceum opened their doors again to pupils and teachers. “Everyone’s thrilled,” Peter Schoormans, director of the Montessori College, says. “The weather’s helping too.”
“Everyone can go outside during break. But of course, there are also concerns. Especially among younger teachers who haven’t yet been vaccinated.”
Sticking to the rules
Those teachers still run the risk of contracting COVID-19. “We’re trying to reduce that risk as much as possible. We keep the 1,5m distance and have walking routes,” says Schoormans.
“Everyone has to wear face masks in the corridors. Still, some teachers prefer to teach from home via a video link. A teaching assistant’s in the classroom to help and keep order and help.”
At the Van Maerlantlyceum, teachers have concerns too. Yet, most are present now that lessons can again take place in person. “About a third of our teachers have been vaccinated by now,” Rector Emmeken van der Heijden says.
Only two teachers at home
“Two are teaching from home due to health reasons. Their students are taught under supervision via a video link. The rest of the teachers are in the classroom.”
It’s not only the teachers that are worried. Students’ parents are also concerned about possible COVID-19 infections. “Nobody wants to catch this virus just before the finish line,” says Van der Heijden.
“That’s why it’s so important that everyone does the self-test properly. The school also wants to provide good information to emphasise the importance of this. One hundred per cent enforcement is never possible. It’s based on trust.”
‘Assume they’re doing tests’
The same applies to the Montessori College. “Parents can do the self-test with the students. We assume that this is happening,” Schoormans says.
“One in four parents has indicated that they don’t want to have their child tested. We have to accept that.” Those children also have to attend school.
“We can’t force children or parents to take self-tests. These pupils are also welcome, provided they are symptom-free.”
Those affiliated with Van Maerlant are generally pleased that schools can reopen. “For two reasons”, Van der Heijden says. “Students learn from each other.”
“So it’s of true value that they’re in class together. Also, we’re trying to catch up in these last few weeks. We want to avoid having to provide full catch-up programmes next year.”
“We’re going to survey how the students are doing. We hope to have a good picture by mid-June,” he says. There will be no return to ‘the old way’, according to Van der Heijden.
‘Learned a lot’
“A lot’s happened in the past 18 months. But we’ve also learned a lot. We’re not going back to how things were. There are also positive changes of which to take note.”
“Students are happy to go to school again. They’ve come to understand why it’s so important. They’re more proactive. We want to maintain this new attitude in the future,” Van der Heijden concludes.
Last week, many high schools in the Eindhoven region indicated that they wouldn’t fully open their doors this week. Those schools will only do so next week.
Translated by: Bob
Editor: Melinda Walraven