Friday, 16 October 2020
Officials for Francophone education in Belgium have decided to extend the autumn holidays of half of the schools in the country in the wake of increasing coronavirus infections among staff.
The upcoming autumn holidays, known as Vacances de la Toussaint, have been extended by three days and will now last from 2 to 11 November.
The call by Francophone Education Minister Caroline Désir was a compromise move after the Catholic Education Syndicate (Segec) called for the week-long holiday to be extended to two full weeks to curb rising coronavirus cases in schools.
Segec director Etienne Michel said the move would “halt the spread of the virus in schools” pending an anticipated reform of school attendance rhythms.
The decision was taken as schools grapple with understaffing as strings of teachers and other staff members go into coronavirus quarantine.
No similar extension has so far been announced by Flemish education authorities for Dutch-speaking schools in Flanders and in Brussels.
Minister Désir said in a televised interview that a daycare service would be organised to bring relief to parents who cannot find alternatives to look out for their children.
The Brussels Times