October 27, 2020

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Dutch primary schools to reopen part time on May 11 in easing of COVID-19 restrictions

The Dutch government is set to ease their coronavirus containment measures, allowing primary school children to go back to school part time starting May 11.

Class sizes and school hours will be cut in half with students spending the other 50% of their time doing “distance learning,” the government said.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the steps to ease restrictions on Tuesday.

Starting on April 29, children will be able to practice sports again under supervision. Competitions, however, will still be cancelled.

Young people between the ages of 13 and 18 will also allowed to exercise together under supervision, but must remain a distance of 1.5 metres apart. Top athletes can begin training again, provided that they maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from others.

But for those looking forward to returning to a more normal life, bars, restaurants, fitness clubs, museums, theatres and other such venues will all be closed until at least May 19.

Meanwhile, large scale events such as festivals and professional sporting events will be banned until at least September 1.

“Caution now is better than regret later,” Prime Minister Rutte said.

Secondary schools can begin preparing to reopen on June 2, the Dutch government said.

Businesses and schools have been closed in the Netherlands since mid-March but the government did not order people to stay at home, as in other European countries, instead encouraging social distancing and working from home instead.

The Netherlands has had more than 34,000 positive coronavirus cases and nearly 4,000 deaths since the beginning of the epidemic. The country’s daily reported case numbers and deaths, however, have decreased significantly since late March.