Schools should not close during second wave, says Flemish Minister
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    Schools should not close during second wave, says Flemish Minister

    Credit: Belga

    If the new coronavirus (Covid-19) flares up again into a second wave, playgrounds, skateparks and schools should not be closed again, according to Flemish Minister for Youth Benjamin Dalle.

    A second wave or second lockdown, should they happen, must be handled differently, with children as the focus from day one, Dalle told De Zondag. “We’d better keep [schools] open. The closure of the schools has had a huge impact on children,” he said.

    “Virtually all European countries have closed their schools. With today’s knowledge, we should not do that anymore. We now know that other measures, such as contact bubbles, can also stop the spread,” said Dalle.

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    “I knew that a closure of the schools would hit the children hard, and certainly the most vulnerable ones,” he said. Earlier this month, he criticised the National Security Council for not paying enough attention to children and young people in the first weeks of the lockdown.

    However, with the schools reopening soon, the opening of skateparks and playgrounds, and the decision that summer camps can take place in bubbles of 50 children, Dalle is relieved.

    “Open space is so important. Many children grow up without a garden or terrace. They have to be able to go outside. That wasn’t possible for weeks. That’s why I strongly urged [the National Security Council] to open those playgrounds. Same for the summer camps. I’m happy with the result,” Dalle added.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times