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What you need to know about sending your child back to school in Denmark

Denmark on Monday announced plans to open kindergartens and schools next week, along with lifting a range of other coronavirus restrictions. Here's what you need to know.

What you need to know about sending your child back to school in Denmark
Year five at a municipal school in Rungsted. Photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Ritzau Scanpix

When are schools and kindergartens reopening? 

Kindergartens and the first five forms in primary schools are set to reopen on April 15, which will give teachers and other staff one day of preparation after the Easter Monday bank holiday.

But on Wednesday, Health Minister Pernille Rosenkratz-Theil conceded that some schools and some municipalities may need more time to prepare, so it's best to check with your local school. “They will not be allowed to reopen until they can be sure that the rules are being complied with,” she said. “It doesn't matter if it's one date or another one.”

Is it compulsory to send my children back to kindergarten or school? 

Sending your child to a kindergartens is not compulsory in Denmark unless you live in a so-called ghetto district. But it is compulsory to attend school from the age of 5-6 until the age of 15-16. If you are worried about sending your child, to school, however, few questions will be asked if you inform them that either the child, or a member of your household is sick with coronavirus-like symptoms. 

What do I have to do as a parent to reduce the risk of spreading infection? 

Do not allow your child to bring toys from home to kindergarten or school, and make sure that your child has washed their hands thoroughly before arriving on the premises. 

Your child's school or kindergarten is likely to contact you with guidelines on picking up and delivering children. This will require you to arrive at a precise time to reduce the risk of crowding. 

Rather than entering the premises and helping children dress, children are likely to be got ready by staff so that parents can pick them up outside the institution.  

When picking up or delivering your child, avoid any physical contact with staff, other parents, or children who are not your own, and try to maintain a distance from others of at least two metres. 

Do I need to make sure my child sticks to social distancing guidelines? 

No. That is the responsibility of staff at their school or kindergarten must try to ensure. “We do not make guidelines for children. We make guidelines for adults,” Søren Brostrøm, the head of the Danish Health Authority, stressed in a press conference on Wednesday. “We know at the health authorities that children are children.” 
 
Children will be made to play in smaller groups, will be made to wash their hands frequently, and there will be extra staff employed at schools and kindergartens to make sure they are run in as safe a way as possible. 

When should I keep my child home? 

According to the Danish Health Authority, children with “even mild symptoms like colds” should stay home until at least 48 hours until the symptoms have ceased. If this happens, you should inform staff at the school or daycare.

If your child belongs to a risk group, suffering from diabetes, obesity, a blood disease, or if they have had a transplant operation, or are being given drugs that suppress their immune system, you should discuss whether it is safe to return to school or kindergarten with their doctor, and if it is, you should work with teaching staff to draw up a plan. 

Even if a member of a child's household is within a special risk group, the child can still return to school.

What if someone else in the household is sick with coronavirus-like symptoms? 

According to the Danish Health Authority, you can send a child to school or kindergarten even if a parent or sibling is sick, although of course the sick parent cannot fetch or delivery them. 

Isn't this a crazy experiment putting all our children at risk? 

Not according to Brostrøm.

“This is not an experiment by gradually opening kindergartens and schools,” he said during the press conference on Wednesday. “We are not using children, young people and teachers as guinea pigs. It is our clear assessment that this is safe in terms of health. This is not an experiment.” 

The official guidelines for the controlled reopening of kindergartens can be found here, and here is a Google Translation of the document.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

you stay home until you are well

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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COVID-19

IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?

The number of new Covid-19 infections fell on Saturday for the second day in a row, following a three-day plateau at the start of last week. Has the omicron wave peaked?

IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?
Graffiti in the Copenhagen hippy enclave of Christiania complaining of Omicron's impact on Christmas. Photo: Philip Davali/Scanpix

How many cases, hospitalisations and deaths are there in Denmark? 

Denmark registered 12,588 new cases in the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, down from the 18,261 registered on in the day leading up to Friday at 2pm, which was itself a decline from the record 28,283 cases recorded on Wednesday. 

The cases were identified by a total of 174,517 PCR tests, bringing the positive percentage to 7.21 percent, down from the sky high rates of close to 12 percent seen in the first few days of January. 

The number of cases over the past seven days is lower than the week before in almost every municipality in Denmark, with only Vallensbæk, Aarhus, Holseterbro, Skanderborg, Hjørring, Vordingborg,  Ringkøbing, Kolding, Assens, Horsens, Thisted, and Langeland reporting rises. 

Hospitalisations have also started to fall, with some 730 patients being treated for Covid-10 on Saturday, down from 755 on Friday. On Tuesday, 794 were being treated for Covid-19 in Danish hospitals, the highest number since the peak of the 2020-21 winter wave.

The only marker which has not yet started to fall is the number of deaths, which tends to trail infections and hospitalisations. 

In the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, Denmark registered 28 deaths with Covid-19, the highest daily number recorded since 20 January 2021, when 29 people died with Covid-19 (although Denmark’s deadliest day was the 19 January 2021, when 39 people died). 

How does Denmark compare to other countries in Europe? 

Over the last seven days, Denmark has had the highest Covid-19 case rate of any country in Europe bar Ireland. The number of new infections in the country has climbed steadily since the start of December, apart from a brief fall over Christmas. 

So does this mean the omicron wave has peaked? 

Maybe, although experts are not sure. 

“Of course, you can hope for that, but I’m not sure that is the case,” said Christian Wejse, head of the Department for Infectious Diseases at Aarhus University Hospital. “I think it is too early to conclude that the epidemic has peaked.”

He said that patients with the Omicron variant were being discharged more rapidly on average than had been the case with those who had the more dangerous Delta variant. 

“Many admissions are relatively short-lived, thankfully. This is because many do not become that il, and are largely hospitalized because they are suffering with something else. And if they are stable and do not need oxygen, then they are quickly discharged again.” 

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said during a visit to an event held by the Social Liberal party that the latest numbers made her even more optimistic about the coming month. 

“We have lower infection numbers and the number of hospitalisations is also plateauing,” she said. “I think we’re going to get through this winter pretty well, even if it will be a difficult time for a lot of people, and we are beginning to see the spring ahead of us, so I’m actually very optimistic.” 

She said that she had been encouraged by the fact that Omicron was a “visibly less dangerous variant if it is not allowed to explode.” 

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