Today Weyts sat together with the education stakeholders to determine what the coming school year will look like. For nursery and primary education there is no problem in itself, they can just open. The situation is more complicated for secondary education, as older children are more vulnerable to the coronavirus.
It was therefore decided to start full education, regular and special pre-primary, primary, full-time and part-time secondary, higher, adult and part-time arts education with code yellow for all levels. It was previously decided that schools would only be open four days out of five with code yellow, but it was discussed. “The limited epidemiological impact of the one school-free day on Wednesday does not sufficiently outweigh the organizational side effects, so that code yellow assumes a five-day school week as standard,” Weyts said in a press release. There are, however, new strictures in the field of mouth mask obligation and third-party access to the educational institution. Pupils of secondary education must wear a mouth mask in class, this obligation does not apply in the playground.
The definition of code orange has also been changed. In view of the more limited impact on the transmission of the virus and pedagogical considerations, pupils in the first stage of secondary education can also go to school for five days in code orange. Regardless of the color code, all students will also go to school in full during the first week.
Exceptions are possible for municipalities that are designated by the Celeval expert group and where the contamination level is therefore too high. The local crisis cell, reinforced with representatives from CLB and education, can then be declared code orange.
With code orange, pupils of the second and third grade of secondary education must attend school half-time. One week they attend school, the other week distance learning applies. Pupils of the first and second year in secondary education can continue to go to school every day with code orange.
Higher education, adult education and part-time arts education can also switch to code orange, if the local crisis unit so decides.
It is therefore possible that schools in Antwerp and Brussels, for example, where the virus is strongly present, will announce code orange from the second week. The rule applies to the municipality where the school is located. So anyone who lives in a municipality where the virus is not strongly present, but the school is in an orange zone, must still stay at home. In the opposite situation, if a student lives in a municipality where the virus is strongly present, but school is in a safer zone, he or she must go to school.