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AMA - my child’s been back at (Dutch) school for one week

(219 Posts)
Flopjustwantscoffee Mon 18-May-20 14:58:21

Where we live (Netherlands) they re-opened primary schools part time to all children from 11th May. Although of course the rules won’t be exactly the same in UK schools a lot of the debate here before opening (child/teacher safety, the effect of the new rules on children etc) was similar to the UK. The UK and Netherlands are quite similar in their approach to covid in other ways as well. So I thought it might be helpful to answer any questions on the reality of how it’s actually gone for children/parents/teachers (admittedly from my own limited expat perspective). I’ll answer any questions I can, but obviously no teacher bashing please (my mum was a teacher)

GrimmsFairytales Mon 18-May-20 15:02:48

You say part time, how long are they in each day?

How big are the groups / class sizes?

Flopjustwantscoffee Mon 18-May-20 15:10:25

The rules we had were:
1. No groups larger than 15 students
2. Children are part time (in my sons school they split the day into morning sessions from 8.15 to 11.15 and afternoon sessions from 12 to 3. In other schools they have them in for the whole day but two days a week. No one goes to school on Wednesday’s). This makes point 1 possible.
3. Parents have to queue in allocated lines, 1.5m apart to drop their children of and collect them at the school gate. Parents aren’t allowed in the school grounds but a helper at each gate sends the children in one at a time and checks everyone is distancing
4. Parents are strongly encouraged to walk or cycle when collecting dropping of children rather than by car
5. Strictly one adult per family is allowed to take children to school. Parents with children in the same group are also encouraged to take it in turns to take each other’s children in to reduce the number of adults at the school gate
6. Children don’t have to keep 1.5m from children in their small group (my son is only 6) but they don’t mix with other children outside that group at all
7. Teachers have a line in the classroom behind which they stand and the children have to keep on the other side, in the playground the teachers have marked squares they stand in to supervise the children. This ensures that space is kept between children and teachers
8. Snacks sent in for break time have to be able to be opened/eaten by the child without any help from the teacher and to be eaten quickly to allow for shorter break periods.The same for shoes, coats etc
9. Lots of hand washing
10. Any cold symptoms whatsoever and a child has to be kept of school until they recover. If they come down with synptoms while in school a parent is called to collect them

CurlyEndive Mon 18-May-20 15:12:09

Did most parents send their children in? Do you feel the first week went well?

Flopjustwantscoffee Mon 18-May-20 15:12:11

@GrimmsFairytales so the time spent at home without them goes very fast, but at least it’s something, it’s easier because most people live close by the school, at least in my area

Flopjustwantscoffee Mon 18-May-20 15:15:06

@CurlyEndive I would say over two thirds in my sons class did. My sons best friend didn’t, which is of course her choice although I (very selfishly) hope she changes her mind at some point. It went much much better than I expected, I was worried that the new rules would be stressful but the atmosphere was actually really nice, I think helped by the fact that the teachers/staff were very smiley and positive. (Of course I don’t know how many of them felt nervous inside but it wasn’t at all obvious to the children)

Flopjustwantscoffee Mon 18-May-20 15:17:16

Also I was expecting my son and his friends to be a little unsettled by the rules, but they all seemed to enjoy the novelty (particularly the fact that parents aren’t allowed in the school grounds but they are). I also have no idea how the teachers manage to maintain order from the other side of a line in the classroom but they seem to be managing it (possibly witchcraft)

GrimmsFairytales Mon 18-May-20 15:17:28

Thank you for replying. Apart from the part time, this seems fairly similar to what schools in England are expecting.

Flopjustwantscoffee Mon 18-May-20 15:18:50

Yes, I was massively relieved there weren’t any squares in the playground for the children to stay in as shown by the media- I don’t think my son would have coped with that at all

Thepilotlightsgoneout Mon 18-May-20 15:20:54

Is his group of 15 the same every week? Or do they mix them up?

In other words, if he has a friend who’s in another group, does he ever get to see them?

Grasspigeons Mon 18-May-20 15:21:06

Are Danish schools inclusive? Whats happening with the children that need individual support?

sergeilavrov Mon 18-May-20 15:23:01

Thanks for doing this! So instead of just Wednesday afternoons off, the children get the whole day? What are the procedures for other children in their group if someone gets cold symptoms at school? Around what proportion of children returned in your class? Blijf veilig!

slothbucket Mon 18-May-20 15:23:16

The government have said that our schools shouldn't be part time and that's a real problem for making this work.

Flopjustwantscoffee Mon 18-May-20 15:24:39

@Thepilotlightsgoneout it’s the same group every week with no mixing. They seem to have gone to some effort to ensure that children have at least some of their friends in the same group. One of my sons other very good friends is in the other group which he was a bit sad about as it means they won’t see each other, but it was counterbalanced by the fact he was seeing other children for the first time in about 7 weeks so he wasn’t too down

Flopjustwantscoffee Mon 18-May-20 15:29:35

@Grasspigeons Dutch schools are similar to UK schools in that there are children with different abilities in regular primary schools but also specialist schools as well. I don’t know much about the procedure in those. My son has weekly one to one language therapy (provided within the school) which was online while the school was shut but is now in person again although the teacher is still stuck making videos for him as well because my son insisted hmm . So that’s on either side of a desk but probably not completely at 1.5m distance. For more complex needs it would be different I think

MulberryPeony Mon 18-May-20 15:31:15

Thank you for doing this.

Flopjustwantscoffee Mon 18-May-20 15:33:29

@sergeilavrov yes it’s the whole day, I suppose it would be too complicated splitting half of Wednesday in half or trying to alternate. If a child gets cold symptoms (eg sore throat) only they have to stay of it doesn’t affect the rest of the class. If they or the parents came down with full on covid I imagine it would be different but we seem to be at a similar level to the uk in terms of contact tracing/testing so I don’t even know how they would know in time. I’m not certain exactly how many children returned to my sons class because I can’t see the classroom and typically see some other parents at the gate but not others due to the distancing measures. Based on what my son says between 10 and 14

Flopjustwantscoffee Mon 18-May-20 15:34:02

@slothbucket agreed!

Flopjustwantscoffee Mon 18-May-20 15:34:35

@MulberryPeony be never been able to do an ask me anything before, it’s quite exciting!

GrimmsFairytales Mon 18-May-20 15:37:47

If a child gets cold symptoms (eg sore throat) only they have to stay of it doesn’t affect the rest of the class.

Would this child be offered a test, or would they have to develop further symptoms?

showgirl Mon 18-May-20 15:38:09

@slothbucket where doesn't say full time? I must have missed this. I thought it was a phased return leading up to full time?

showgirl Mon 18-May-20 15:38:20

Sorry does it say

ineedaholidaynow Mon 18-May-20 15:38:49

What age is the youngest group that have gone back?

What rules do you have for socialising with friends/family? Obviously we are not meant to be mixing households but it would seem people are already considering play dates etc when schools go back

Nihiloxica Mon 18-May-20 15:39:20

Thank you so much, Flop.

Very interesting.

babychange12 Mon 18-May-20 15:40:32

Are teachers allowed to help say in a toilet accident or if children fall /hurt themselves?

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