The lockdown that began on 16 March 2020 turned our lives upside down. Children could not go to school for quite a long time. Teachers suddenly had to switch to online teaching, provide emergency day care, provide “preteaching”, etc. And when the schools were able to partly reopen in May, they also had to get used to working with bubbles, separate breaks, face masks and hand sanitizer. 2020 was an unusual year, to say the least.
CLBs became contact tracers for schools
The CLBs (pupil guidance centres) gave priority to contact tracing. They assembled all the contacts of a person who had been infected at school. Medical appointments were temporarily postponed.
Onderwijscentrum Brussel promotes urban education
The Onderwijscentrum Brussel (OCB, Brussels Education Centre) helped strengthen school teams in urban education. That means dealing with superdiverse groups of pupils, using the multilingualism of pupils, taking account of students growing up in poverty and collaborating with the neighbourhood.
Schools and IBOs welcome children during the coronavirus crisis
What about children who could not stay at home during the lockdown? Children whose parents are employed in essential occupations or children in a vulnerable situation? The VGC, schools, the Initiatieven voor Buitenschoolse Opvang (Initiatives for after-school day care, IBOs) and community centres collaborated to welcome them. A great deal of attention was given to the very strict rules not to breach contact bubbles.
Digital learning as the teaching of the future
Because of the lockdown, schools had to move at lightning speed to teaching remotely using digital technology. Thanks to subsidies from the VGC they were quickly provided with extra laptops, tablets, digital blackboards or a better WiFi network. The Digital For Youth non-profit association distributed 1200 laptops, donated by companies, to underprivileged children. The STARTPROjecten non-profit association ensured that secondary school pupils who had no internet at home also gained access. And the Brussels Education Centre (OCB) shared its expertise in remote teaching.
Coronaproof studying in Study Spaces
During the pandemic, students found a quiet place in the Study Spaces offered by Brik and the VGC. Because of the coronavirus, there was more demand for study spaces, certainly in the case of underprivileged students in higher education.
In empty student rooms at the Van Orley International Student House in the centre of Brussels, students were able to take their online exams in a quiet setting.
‘They are really just doing it’ – about restarting a school
Edith is an educational support worker at the Brussels Education Centre. She helped with the restart of a school after lockdown.
‘They are really just doing it, these teachers: returning to live teaching, warmly welcoming pupils, as well as teaching remotely. They are really just doing it, these Brussels ketjes (kids): returning to school, making a fresh start.’
ICT-materialen voor 137 scholen: 2.400.000 euro ging naar
- 2005 laptops
- 1565 tablets
- 228 digitale schoolborden