1 Comment

Thanks for this valuable overview Alasdair. In The Netherlands schools closed three times: 16 march 2020 (three months), 16 december 2020 (primary 2 months - secondary fully opened after 5 months), 20 december 2021 (one week). In spite of data and research confirming that schools weren't main drivers of transmission closing schools remained on the agenda during the whole of the pandemic and kept being seen as a sensible approach bij the government and the microbiologists and virologistst of its advisory board ('Outbreak Management Team'). Data shows it was not.

For two years now I have been keeping track of data and research on children, schools and c-19 (thank you for many valuable contributions!). The lack of evidence for restrictions in the lives of children and the obvious harms to children remains a stain on the Dutch approach of the pandemic. Even worse: to this day there seems to be a clear reluctance evaluating the closing of schools in The Netherlands.

Recently a Dutch study (preprint: SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks in secondary school settings in the Netherlands during fall 2020; silent circulation) was published. Researchers have looked into transmission in secondary schools in the fall of 2020. The reassuring conclusion - "the lack of detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA in collected air and surface samples suggests that major environmental contamination is uncommon in schools - hasn't made it to the press so far. But already teaching unions try to sound the alarm for the coming fall.

Therefore it's vital that experts like you speak out and contribute to a sound evaluation. I sincerely hope paediatricians and other childexperts in The Netherlands will follow this example, but so far too many of them have been all too quiet. Children deserve better than how they have been treated the past two years.

Expand full comment