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Flemish schools want a dress code for online classes

Credit: Pikrepo

The days of high school students attending online classes in their pyjamas from bed could be nearing an end in Belgium, after some Flemish schools have issued a call for classroom rules to extend to online classes after the autumn break.

“We want the students to sit neatly dressed at a desk behind the computer, with a neutral background. What applies to a physical lesson should also apply to an online lesson,” said GO! Atheneum director Ann Van Landuyt told local media

A similar message was shared by the director of the Sint-Jan Berchmanscollege in Westmalle, where regulations are already being adjusted.

“If you have a bike breakdown, notify the school that you are going to be late. Same now if you have wifi problems, you also notify the school. You don’t drop in halfway through class or just log out, you don’t do that in class either. We also ask you not to chat during class. So we try to adapt our regulations to the new, virtual reality,” said Eric Van Huffelen.

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Following the now extended autumn break, both schools will switch to partially distanced learning. Under the new rules for secondary education, 50% of second and third-grade pupils will be allowed to go to class. The other 50% will have to follow distance education.

“Most students follow the lesson online as punctually as they do offline. But there are also those who use the virtual lessons to ignore the school rules,” Van Huffelen said. “Still wearing the pyjamas is one thing, but some of them are still in bed when they are taking lessons behind the laptop”.

The umbrella organisation for the interests of secondary school pupils in Flanders, however, is concerned with this approach. “An understandable reaction, but we hope it doesn’t go too far. The presence and attention of the pupil seems more important to us. Not all pupils have a desk, sometimes the bed is the only place where they sit quietly,” said chairman and sixth-year student Louis Notte.

The Brussels Times