- Denmark became the first European country under lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic to reopen schools for its youngest students.
- Children in daycare and primary school arrived to new classroom setups that included desks spaced six feet apart and lessons conducted in gymnasiums beginning on April 15, 2020.
- The decision to reopen schools has prompted concern from Danish parents. Over 40,000 people have joined a Facebook group called “My child should not be a guinea pig for COVID-19” as of publishing time.
- Denmark is pursuing a gradual reopening strategy following a decline in the rate of new coronavirus infections. For now, high schools and universities remain closed, and students living with at-risk family members will be permitted to continue learning remotely.
- Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen cautioned that the country can’t lift restrictions too quickly or else it will risk a rise in infections.
- Recent photos of Danish children returning to school highlight the country’s cautious approach to lifting its lockdown measures.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Denmark became the first country in Europe on coronavirus lockdown to reopen its daycare centers and primary schools after experiencing a decline in the rate of new infections.
Students had been home since March 16 and returned to find that their schools weren’t quite as they left them.
Now, desks are placed six feet apart, and drop-off times are staggered due to social distancing guidelines still in place.
Some teachers brought their lessons outside …
… and others moved classes into gymnasiums.
While Denmark’s youngest students are resuming in-person classes, high schools and universities remain closed through May 10.
Denmark plans to lift restrictions gradually over the coming weeks, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen explained in a news conference on April 6. “If we open Denmark too quickly we risk that infections rise too sharply and then we have to close down again,” she said.
Restaurants and cafés also remain closed, and gatherings of 10 or more people are banned.
Lees ook op Business Insider
A growing number of Danish parents and caretakers are expressing their concerns about sending their children back to school due to fears of infection. Since April 6, more than 40,000 have joined a Facebook group called “My child should not be a guinea pig for COVID-19.”
Some have decided to keep their children home, but they have been told they must home school if they decide to do so. Only children who live with family members at high risk for infection are eligible to continue remote learning, according to government guidelines.
One mother expressed her predicament in the Facebook group. “I have twins in 5th grade, and we are so unsure whether or not they should start Friday. Most people want them to stay home, but home education is difficult without help from the school,” she wrote.
Under usual circumstances, extended absence without a doctor’s note can result in a family losing their child support benefits, but the Ministry of Children and Education has eased its policy for the time being.
Reopening the country “will probably be a bit like walking the tightrope,” Frederiksen admitted. “If we stand still along the way we could fall, and if we go too fast it can go wrong.”
Denmark announced its first lockdown measures on March 11 and was the second country in Europe to do so, following Italy’s lead. Since then, most countries have followed suit.
Compared to Italy and France, where residents face fines and jail time if they leave their houses for an unapproved reason, Denmark’s coronavirus response has not been as strict. But the country’s response is not as relaxed as neighboring Sweden, where restaurants, bars, and other gathering places remain open. Danes can still leave the house at will as long as they heed the ban on public gatherings.
Source: Business Insider
While Denmark appears to have flattened the curve of new infections, only time will tell which country took the right approach, Lars Ostergaard, chief consultant and professor at the Department of Infectious Diseases at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark told the Associated Press. “No one has walked this path before, and only the aftermath will show who made the best decision,” he said.
Source: Associated Press