POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Mass recruitment drive for primary school reopening



Only half of all children in each primary school class will be in attendance at any given time under arrangements that create a strictly closed environment in schools, the education ministry has said. Shutterstock

Only half of all children in each primary school class will be in attendance at any given time under arrangements that create a strictly closed environment in schools, the education ministry has said. Shutterstock

The figure was revealed by education minister Claude Meisch (DP) speaking to the education commission on Wednesday, who said 180 of the new recruits were students from the University of Luxembourg.

Primary school pupils will be split into two groups, with each cohort alternating attendance in public schools in order to reduce class sizes and limit the chances of spreading coronavirus.

During the weeks when learners are not in school, alternative childcare arrangements will be made in communes where possible. Additional education staff were hired to greet children upon arrival in school, to supervise and work with learners during the week they are not present in school and cover where teachers are not able to return to work.

During Wednesday’s meeting, the commission examined draft law 7579, exempting staff from requiring ministry certification to work in these roles until the start of the new school year. The bill outlines that candidates must have completed secondary school. Contracts for these new staff will run until 21 July, the last week being a week off with pay.

Complex arrangements for reopening

The reopening of public primary schools has proved complex and controversial--opponents have called for schools to remain closed until the start of the summer holidays on health grounds. A recent Australian study found that children are unlikely to transmit coronavirus to each other or adults in the classroom, while a German study found that children may be as infectious as adults.

The education minister has previously said that it is in the best interests of children to return to school. The new regulations create a strictly closed environment in schools, where only half of all children will be in attendance at any given time. Under the arrangements, children can be dropped at school from 7am onwards. Masks are not worn by children under 6 and break times are staggered. Parents of children with pre-existing health conditions have been allowed to continue homeschooling their child until the summer break and leave for family reasons has been extended for parents where this is the case. Other practical arrangements will be outlined by communes imminently.