Many parents perhaps choked on their coffee when they heard that experts believe the Christmas vacations should be extended by one week. A number of experts believe this is urgently needed to reduce the large number of corona infections in the primary schools. According to former head of infectious disease control at the GGD Hart voor Brabant Jos van de Sande, we cannot escape it.
“I understand the desperation,” Van de Sande adds, “but actually it would be better if we all shut down the entire country for three weeks.” A total lockdown, in other words, to bring the number of infections down quickly.
As far as he is concerned, we can start with the education sector. he understands that “education is an important open link”. “But it’s one of the riskiest of times. And kids who pick up the virus at school may infect whole families.”
If the schools closed for an extra week, many parents will look to childcare. Maybe some extra days of BSO to fill the gap? Unfortunately, they can’t count on that, says Gjalt Jellesma of Boink, a foundation representing parents in childcare. “Indeed, I already heard about the possibility of closing schools. But all those children together is going to be a lot of hours of care. Can we accommodate all those hours? No.”
Jellesma thinks even if it is possible, you shouldn’t want it. “It sounds very innocent, closing the schools for an extra week. We must avoid closing the schools. We are closing them very often.”
Staying at home
Van de Sande totally agrees that the pressure of an extra week off should not be on childcare. That is going to negate the whole measure. “In any case, you shouldn’t put those children together,” he says. “The kids should stay at home as much as possible. Contact with a few friends is still possible, but not too much. You have to limit the contacts as much as possible.”
Three weeks of school closures and extra-long Christmas break, that’s the best thing to do, according to Van de Sande. Or perhaps, one more week. “That would be best, though. The risk decreases the longer you keep this up.”
And then preferably a week before the Christmas vacations.” Because the longer you wait, the infections will continue to rise much further. Then we will need more stringent measures.”
Translation: Chaitali Sengupta