Saturday, 16 Oct 2021

Reopen schools: Which countries have reopened schools?

Speculation has been growing in the UK about when and how schools will be reopened once the lockdown is eased, with a myriad of different camps with different opinions. Schools in the UK are currently only open for the children of key workers and vulnerable people.

No official date has been set for when schools will resume, however, June 1 has been thrown around by several senior figures in teaching as the earliest possible date.

Last month, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson addressed the issue of school closures, but ruled out giving a fixed date for when they could return.

He said: “People are anxious to know when we’re going to relax restrictions when schools are likely to be fully back and open again.

“Of course, I want nothing more than to see schools back, get them back to normal, make sure the children are sat around, learning, and experiencing the joy of being at school. But I can’t give you a date.”

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Addressing children directly, Mr Williamson said: “I wanted to say to you how sorry I am that you’ve had your education disrupted in this way.”

Countries ahead of the UK, which now has the highest death toll in Europe, have begun easing their own lockdowns and sending children back into mainstream education.

However, the return to school for children across the world is not the same as it was before, with many countries implementing social distancing and reducing class sizes to try and keep the spread of COVID-19 down.

China

The original epicentre, China has now sent pupils back to school after its drawn out battle with coronavirus.

A variety of changes have been made to observe the necessary social distancing measures as Chinese students go back to school.

These include wearing masks, customised school transport, and designated routes to classrooms.

Some schools are even making students pass through thermal imaging cameras and have their temperature checked on their way in.

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Taiwan

Taiwan has been considered a success story in the tale of coronavirus – the country reported only six deaths and 439 cases.

Because of this, schools in Taiwan managed to reopen way back in February.

Germany

Phased reopenings have begun in Germany as of this week, as the country eases into lifting its lockdown after a reasonably successful attempt at tackling the virus, at least in comparison to other European countries.

Exams and revision have been allowed to take place in schools since 20 April, starting in Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia. High school exams are also taking place in Berlin and Brandenburg.

Similar to China, Germany has implemented social distancing guidelines within schools.

Sweden

Sweden’s relaxed approach to the pandemic has bewildered many and angered some – but for the most part it’s not doing a terrible job despite ignoring the World Health Organisation’s demands to close down.

Little Swedes are still in school, owing to evidence suggesting younger children are not a major source of transmission for coronavirus.

Denmark

Danish children have been allowed to get back into formal education as of April 15, and schools have been left to decide how they wish to approach the task.

Some schools have opted to teach children outdoors with the warmer Spring weather across Europe, and mandatory hand washing has been implemented every two hours.

A minority – around ten percent – of parents have chosen to keep their children away from schools.

Norway

Primary schools reopened on April 27, while nurseries opened the week prior, on April 20.

Classes are kept to a maximum of 15 pupils, with many children being kept in much smaller groups.

Regular hand and desk washing is also encouraged.

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