Christa Brömmel, of the Luxembourg Red Cross, says it is not clear if childcare facilities will be open for the summer school vacation starting 15 July. Photo: Christof Weber/Croix-Rouge luxembourgeoise
After-school clubs will play a critical role in offering childcare under the new alternating school system expected to start in primary schools from 25 May. The Luxembourg Red Cross, which manages several such facilities and crèches estimates it will need up to 30% more staff to meet the demands of this new, social distance-appropriate way of schooling.
“We haven’t quite finished making our estimates, but we think we'll need between 20 and 30% more staff. These are figures that we will only be able to refine after the current survey is completed,” Christa Brömmel, in charge of the not-for-profit’s additional education facilities told our sister publication Paperjam in an article published on Tuesday.
Primary schools and crèches were closed for ten weeks as part of measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus. Just a week before they are due to resume activities with dramatically reduced class sizes to reduce transmission, there remain a lot of questions for the operators of facilities and parents. Brömmel said it was not clear what are the individual needs and requests of parents.
“When in doubt, we have been preparing and implementing a recruitment plan since 6 May,” she said. The recruitment drive has focused on finding people with an A certificate and proven experience in caring for young children. “We are also increasing the working hours of our employees’ existing contracts whenever possible,” Brömmel added.
The Red Cross facilities will see their previous opening times reduced, running from 8am to 6pm. While their facilities will be open for specified groups during the June half-term holiday, no decision has yet been made for the summer holidays, which officially start 15 July.
The challenges of reducing class sizes in crèche and other childcare facilities are exacerbated by the fact that the number of all public and commercial facilities fell by 7% from 2018 to 2019, from 848 to 789, according to education minister Claude Meisch (DP) responding on Monday to a recent parliamentary question. Yet, thanks to mergers, the existing facilities appear to be larger, with capacity increasing over that same period by 5.3%, from 48,641 places to 51,221.