Elementary schools, daycare centers and BSOs were forced to close their doors on December 15th. But in places where schools, day care centers and nurseries were allowed to reopen on February 8, the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) advised to keep these schools closed.
“Because reopening out-of-school care is less important to children’s well-being and can provide more contacts between children from different groups and / or schools.”
Concern about luxury
But there are connections anyway, says the childcare sector organization. “Children go to school, are allowed to play sports together, take swimming lessons, and play with friends and girlfriends, and they are looked after by grandparents and grandmothers or neighbors, and they may be looked after by a babysitter. They are not only allowed to go. To after school care. Director Emmeline Belsma explains.
“It seems that the pressure on the cabinet has eased when primary schools and nurseries reopened,” she said. “But we are really concerned about the well-being of the children. The children who usually go to care outside of school now are sitting at home in front of the screens or spending time outside. While their parents are at work.”
More screen time
Natalie, a mother of two daughters aged 7 and 8, hopes to reopen the out-of-school care facility soon. Since children usually go to daycare three days a week, Natalie now has to pick them up from school every day at 2:15.
“I work at home, but they still have to entertain themselves. They play together or with a girl next door. But sometimes they spend more time behind the screen than I usually allow, I have to admit. When I’m on a call. With a customer, no.” I can keep yelling in the background. This is distracting. ”
The Working Parents Foundation is currently receiving a lot of phone calls from parents who don’t understand why there is no mention at all of out-of-school care. “Employers think people can now work as usual, but after 2 pm, that is a utopia for many parents,” says manager Marjet Winsemius. “The pressure on the parents actually didn’t go away at all.”
Montris Kinderopvang, with out-of-school care sites in Het Gooi and Amsterdam, sees many parents as having no more options. Emergency shelters are increasingly being called. “We really weigh it on a case-by-case basis,” says director Surya Syed. “In principle, at least one parent should be an important profession.”
But when parents tell us in tears that things aren’t really going anymore, we see if we can do something. Not only in the interest of the parents, but especially in the interest of the child. We really have a job with that. ”
Work out the door
The childcare sector is also confirming that more and more parents are working outside the home again. “Store workers and people who work in communication professions, such as hairdressers, for example, cannot work from home. They are not important occupations, so they do not have the right to emergency shelter.” This is a problem, says Emeline Belsma. “When you open branches, people have to go back to work, and there must also be shelter.”
Can the out-of-school care facility be opened safely?
The childcare industry thinks so. Although it must then be specially designed. “In some BSOs, children come from one school. There is a little easier to separate children from different groups,” says the childcare sector organization. “We are also advocating in particular to go out with children as much as possible, and to customize by location. Separating children from different classes in all out-of-school care, such as school, is not possible, but childcare is always creative in terms of finding smart solutions.”
BOinK, the Association for Parents in Child Care, also believes it is possible. “In emergency shelters, the occupancy rate often rises to more than 50 percent, and children from different schools and classes are also being cared for in one place and in a group room. There are no indications that this will lead to additional injuries.”
No more vacation
Babies are now often informally cared for by the family or parents of their boyfriends and girlfriends. But the government has actually indicated that it finds this unwanted, as it leads to more moments of contact between adults. Taking time off isn’t always an option, either. “There are parents who have already taken their holidays this year,” says Marjet Winsemius. “Sometimes they ended up in the ministry in the last year. They also have to take time off if the child had a naughty nose or had to be quarantined, so he was not allowed to go to school.”
Natalie sees only one solution: The out-of-school care must be reopened. “I do exactly what I am asked to do, I work at home for a year and obey all the rules. But I feel very sorry for having to do so. The children often have to wait. They get everything attention in after school care. My children have become Me and the other parents with whom I talk a little bit. “
Wouter Koolmees response
Outgoing Minister of Social Affairs and Employment Water Colmes said BSOs did not open simultaneously with schools and daycare centers, because it is undesirable to mix children from different classes. Now that there have been a number of weeks of experience with schools and daycare centers, the government hopes more will be said about how this will happen soon.
“After a year working from home, this is really a burden for a lot of parents, so they’d be a relief to have them open.”
The minister does not dare say whether he will be talking about BSOS at next Tuesday’s press conference. This depends, among other things, on figures related to infections and hospitalizations.