MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR – 08-05-2020
Please click here for a letter from Mr Lewis about an update before the school reopens on Monday 11th May.
MESSAGE FROM CONNEXXION RE. BUS LINE 606
As lessons will resume at the European School in Bergen as of 11th May, line 606 will also operate. Trip planning via websites or apps will not yet show line 606.
Below the timetable for line 606 is displayed.
|Lijn 606 Alkmaar – Bergen Europese School
Maandag 11 mei t/m vrijdag 15 mei 2020 | Monday 11th May until Friday 15th May 2020
MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR – 04-05-2020
Please click here for a letter from Mr Lewis about the plans for re-entry at the school.
MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR – 22-04-2020
Dear parents, pupil and other members of the school community,
I hope that this communication finds you in good health, and that all of your arrangements are going as well as possible in these very difficult circumstances.
Yesterday we sent you the letter from the Secretary-General regarding the arrangements for the classes, and in particular the Baccalaureate. As we know more we will keep you updated.
Now that the decision has been taken to cancel the end of year tests and exams, it is very important that all pupils realise that this does not mean that the year is over – we expect them to keep up to date with all work, and pupils are expected to submit work as required by the teachers throughout the school. Grades are not yet finalized, and we will take into account the work done during this period in the Class Councils at the end of the year.
For the S7 pupils, the final mark has not yet been decided. We need to warn all S7 pupils that if they do not complete the assigned work this could have a negative impact on their final Baccalaureate result. In some cases it could make the difference between passing and failing, or achieving a result which will get them into their chosen university.
Yesterday evening we heard the news from the Dutch government regarding the reopening of the Dutch national primary schools for pupils from May 11th. Here is a summary in English:
We have discussed the effects of this decision on our school, and we will consult with all the groups involved in the School Advisory Council (SAC), as well as respect decisions made in Brussels. We plan to make a decision at the latest on May 4th.
Dr Steve Lewis, Director European School Bergen
COMMUNICATION FROM THE OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE EUROPEAN SCHOOLS – 21-04-2020
Please click here for the official information from the Office of the Secretary-General about the decision of the Board of Governors concerning the consequences of COVID-19 on the European Schools.
COMMUNICATION FROM THE SECRETARY-GENERAL – 03-04-2020
Please click here for an update from the Secretary-General of the European Schools, Mr Marcheggiano.
Dear members of the ESB community,
The suspension of lessons in the school will continue until May 4th. This conforms to the new Dutch measures announced on 31st March. A communication will come from Brussels on Friday or soon afterwards about what will happen in the European Schools system.
After the Easter holidays the teachers will continue to provide a variety of distance learning methods for the pupils to ensure as much pedagogical continuity as possible. The teachers have been provided with guidelines for distance learning from Brussels, and will continue to be as creative, flexible and innovative as possible now that they know this situation will continue for longer.
The decision about the Bac will be made by the Board of Governors in their meeting in the week after Easter. Therefore we urge the pupils to keep as focused as possible, and use the time as well as possible. We know it is very difficult, but there is nothing else we can do at this moment.
Wishing you all the best over the coming weeks with all the challenges ahead, and we will send you any news as soon as we have it.
Dr Steve Lewis, Director European School Bergen
31-03-2020 Click here for a message of thanks from the Secretary-General of the European Schools
MESSAGE FROM THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE EUROPEAN SCHOOLS – 27-03-2020
Brussels, 27 March 2020
FOR THE ATTENTION OF THE EUROPEAN SCHOOLS’ COMMUNITY
Dear Madam, Dear Sir,
Subject: Impact of COVID-19 on the European Schools’ education
It has been two weeks since it was decided to suspend the obligatory regular attendance of pupils (Article 30 of the General Rules of the European Schools – Ref. 2014-03-D-14) and to suspend lessons “in situ” in all European Schools starting from the 16th March 2020. The European Schools in Varese and Munich had been forced to apply the same measures as of 24 February and 9 March 2020 respectively.
We have done our utmost to support teachers, pupils and parents to deal with this challenging situation. We are also really grateful to all those who have done their utmost in order to guarantee that the education of our pupils could continue, under the present challenging conditions.
Most of the schools have launched surveys involving the teaching staff, parents and pupils. The outcome is reassuring overall. We also understand that there remains room for improvement and areas where we can learn from each other. The Office of the Secretary- General of the European Schools is promoting this exchange among schools and has provided guidance in distance teaching and learning. This guidance may be updated in the light of the feedback we receive.
We also have to address questions linked to school calendar until the end of the school year 2019/20.
For the time being all European Schools have suspended the obligatory regular attendance of pupils and suspended lessons in situ until 19th April 2020. A further prolongation is very likely and a decision will be taken by the Directors, upon advice from the Secretary General and in close consultation with the EU Commission, by the end of the coming week at the latest.
Consequently, we need to prepare for two scenarios:
- a ‘reopening’ of the schools, later in the second semester or
- a potential prolongation of the current situation until the end of the 2019/20 school year.
We are working in close consultation with the schools on these two scenarios and on Action Plans to deal with risks linked to both scenarios. The main aspects are the tests and examinations in the second semester of the current school year, the promotion of students to the following year and the European Baccalaureate (EB).
For the time being, we continue to prepare for the EB session as foreseen in the General Rules and the Arrangements for implementing the Regulations for the European Baccalaureate, and within the agreed calendar. However, we are aware that we need to be prepared for a scenario where the schools will not open their doors as planned after the Easter holidays or indeed possibly not before the end of the school year.
In particular with respect to the EB we will provide the Board of Governors of the European Schools at its meeting starting from 15th to 17th April 2020 with concrete proposals, if the scenario dictates that distance teaching and learning would have to be prolonged for a substantial time and potentially until the end of the school year.
These proposals to the Board of Governors will have to take into consideration the approach envisaged by the different Member States with respect to their national Baccalaureate or school-leaving examinations. Our schools are based on the national systems of different Member States and we should aim at being in line with these systems and also in guaranteeing equal treatment within our system. We will also keep in mind that our students should not face unfavourable treatment, in comparison to the majority of pupils in the Member States’ educational systems.
Please be reassured that the envisaged decisions will take into consideration, in first place, the health, well-being and safety of our pupils, parents and staff.
Moreover, we will have to ensure that these decisions will support a fair and transparent EB session for all S7 students in all the 13 European Schools and also in the Accredited European Schools providing the EB.
These decisions have also to limit to the minimum any possible negative impact on the assessment of our pupils, in comparison to previous year groups.
Finally, we will have to keeping mind that our graduates will not face any disadvantage when applying to a University, in particular in EU Member States and the United Kingdom.
I appeal for your understanding and patience that we cannot be more precise on the measures to be taken for the moment as I cannot prejudice any decision of the Board of Governors. We will do our utmost to ensure that any decision of the Board of Governors will guarantee the principles highlighted above.
I will inform you about further developments and decisions in due time and wish you and your families all the best.
Giancarlo MARCHEGGIANO Secretary-General of the European Schools
NEWS UPDATE ON THE CORONAVIRUS – 23-03-2020
23rd March 2020
Dear members of the ESB school community,
At the start of the second week of the suspension of lessons in school, I would like to give you some updates. We realise how difficult it is for everyone to carry on as normal, and for all of us the priority to is to keep safe and healthy. Up to now we have fortunately not heard of any cases of staff, pupils or parents who have tested positive for the coronavirus, but if that changes please let me know so that we can take additional precautions as necessary. For families we realise that this is a really challenging time with parents having to work from home, and their children wanting to get back to the normality of social life, sports etc.
Our teachers have found different and creative ways to maintain as much educational continuity as possible, some in real time, and some with more open-ended structure. They are doing their best, and it is my sincere hope that the pupils are able to manage with the work and lessons they are being given, and that the technology and computer access at home is making this possible. So much distance learning work creates a new risk of spending too much time in front of a monitor, and so teachers are being encouraged to use a variety of methods. We know that whatever we do it will be too much for some, and not enough for others. If it is the former, please do your best; if it is the latter why not use the opportunity to develop new skills using the many opportunities provided by the Internet? We have received a guide for parents from the Office of the Secretary-General which we have been asked to send to you.
Officially we now have two weeks of school left until the Easter holiday, and under normal circumstances many pupils would be planning for various school trips and would have missed normal lessons anyway. Our target at the moment is to reach the holidays as well as possible, and by then we will hopefully have a clearer picture of where things are going. On the one hand the Dutch restrictions are until the end of March, with pupils due to return to school on April 6th. On the other hand we also expect the spread of the virus to reach its peak at that time, and so we have no idea what will happen and whether we will be able to return to school as normal after the holidays. When we have more information I will let you know immediately.
We are in regular contact with the Central Office, and there are many decisions which will have to be taken. One important decision is with the Baccalaureate – in some countries their final exams have been cancelled. There is no decision as yet on what will happen with the Bac, and again as soon as we have some news we will let you know. This is a very stressful time for our S7 pupils, and I would advise them as far as possible to carry on as normal. It is clear that the decisions we made about the school trips in March were necessary, and we will make decisions at the end of April about what will happen to any further trips during this school year. All the organising teachers have done their best to get money refunded, and once we are all back at work we will look at what we can do about compensations. The work experience in S5 is another area to discuss, and we may make the decision to have the S5 examinations later. In other words we advise you not to make any new arrangements for travel etc. until we have more news.
We are also in regular contact with the Parents Association, JRC Petten and the EMA, and so everyone is involved and informed.
I wish you all as good a week as possible under these extraordinary and exceptional circumstances, and that you can all stay healthy and calm and that social distancing will help to keep you safe, and your families in other parts of the world.
Steve Lewis, Director, European School Bergen
COMMUNICATION FROM THE SECRETARY-GENERAL – 20-03-2020
NEWS UPDATE ON THE CORONA VIRUS – 16-03-2020
Dear members of the school community,
I am sure that you are aware of the change of position of the Dutch government, and now all schools in the Netherlands have closed until at least April 6th.
Here are the measures outlined in English and in the official document in Dutch.
This means for us that the school will not reopen until after the Easter holidays, unless there are further delays and new instructions. We have been told to follow the national decisions if they are stricter.
Teachers will provide support in different ways for the pupils as already arranged. We have told them to adopt a “less is more” approach because we must be realistic about what is achievable during such a challenging and stressful time. It may take a day or two before everything is up and running, and we know that there have been problems with Microsoft because of the demands worldwide on their systems.
It will be a difficult and challenging time for us all, and I wish you and your families strength in the coming weeks. I hope that you stay healthy and that you are able to practise the “social distancing” required to slow down the spread of the virus.
Steve Lewis, Director European School Bergen
Dear members of the ESB school community,
Following recent communications between the European Schools, the Office of the Secretary General, and the European Commission, a decision has been taken that no lessons will take place for the two weeks beginning on Monday 16th March as a preventive measure and therefore no pupils will be allowed to attend the school.
Teachers will provide some meaningful work for the pupils to do during this time and will be available through email and other means to provide appropriate support. In particular the S7 pupils will need to continue with their preparations for the Baccalaureate and use the opportunity to complete the last topics and begin revision.
We know that this will have a major impact on all and it will make the next two weeks very challenging in all kinds of ways, but we hope that this measure which has been decided in Brussels will go some way towards preventing the spread of the Corona virus/Covid-19 in our school community.
As things stand at the moment we are scheduled to reopen the school on Monday 30th March for the last week before the Easter holidays. Things may change further, however, and so please check emails, sms and the school website for further information.
This closure will affect not only the school, but also childcare services and others who use the school premises.
Steve Lewis, Director European School Bergen,
12th March 2020
Brussels, 12th March 2020
The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic (https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/events-as-they-happen). Everybody knows which measures have been taken in Italy. The relevant Belgian Authorities have reported “an increase in the number of new cases. Our hospitals also see more and more persons suffering from lower respiratory tract infections. This might be the sign of a real epidemic in our country.” (https://www.info-coronavirus.be/en/2020/03/11/47-new-covid-19-infections/). Several Member States in Europe have closed all schools.
In the European Schools, new cases of infected relatives of members of the school community have been on the increase in recent days. This is a source of growing uncertainty for pupils, parents and staff members and makes it increasingly difficult to maintain a calm atmosphere within the school communities.
It is a fact that schools do not have the same structure as offices. Students move from one place to another, they meet for different activities, with different students and with different teachers/adults and have close physical contact in play that professionals, in a working environment, do not normally have.
Mixing amongst pupils in a school environment is extremely pronounced, even more pronounced in the European School system. This mixing of pupils is found in a variety of contexts in the ES system, such as:
– classes and groups that change every hour and pupils who are mixed across sections and levels,
– after school activities,
– school transport (bus),
– canteen and/or cafeteria,
– study rooms and libraries,
– sport halls and changing rooms,
These are all examples of different places where one pupil can meet other pupils (and/or teachers or staff) and can be (sometimes obliged to be) in close contact with them (less than 1 meter of distance).
Moreover, in schools based in the same city, many families have children in different schools, and this includes members of staff. Some teachers also teach in different schools.
– the present situation of the declared pandemic,
– the nature of the European Schools population, largely composed of expatriated families,
– the illustrated amplified risk of contamination in a school environment,
as a preventive measure, it is highly recommended to suspend the obligatory regular attendance of pupils (art. 30 “General Rules of the European Schools” Ref. : 2014-03-D-14) and suspend lessons in situ in all European Schools, starting from next Monday 16th March 2020 and up to 29th March 2020 inclusive.
School management and teachers will do their utmost to guarantee pedagogical continuity using distance communication tools. Legal representatives of pupils are invited to support pupils’ efforts at home.
This communication is issued in advance, so that schools and families have some time prepare themselves.
Coronavirus News Update, 10th March 2020.
Dear members of the ESB school community,
During this difficult and uncertain time during the crisis caused by the rapid spread of the Coronavirus we have done our best to keep you up to date with all the latest developments and information from the Central Office and the European Commission. We will continue to do this.
At this time we do not have any cases in our school, and we are monitoring the situation closely. The latest news is that there are now cases in the Alkmaar/Noord Holland Noord area. The Varese and Munich schools are closed for a long period, however, and there are also short-term closures in two of the Brussels schools.
It is our aim to keep things running as normally as possible in school, and all pupils have been reminded about the importance of good hygiene practices. We are concerned if pupils have a high temperature, fever or severe cough and cold symptoms in school. If this is the case they should stay at home, and if we are concerned we will send them home. We ask for the cooperation of everyone in the school community to support this. This includes avoiding non-essential visits and meetings on school business, and looking for other ways such as telephone, skype and email to communicate in the first instance.
Cancellation/postponement of school trips and events before the Easter holidays.
Not everything can run as normal however. We can inform you that the decision has been taken at the system level to cancel the MEC (Model European Council) in Munich and Fames (Festival of Art and Music) for secondary pupils in Luxembourg.
We have also decided to cancel or postpone all school trips which will take place before the Easter holidays – residential and day trips. We need to put the safety and security of the pupils and their teachers as the first priority. We know that there will be financial consequences, and we will do our best to get refunds. Please give us time to organize this and at the moment we will not be able to answer any individual questions about the costs.
We will also cancel or postpone any school events. As there is information about any new plans we will inform you. In any case we will not make any decisions until after the Easter holidays. By then the situation will hopefully be a lot clearer.
All members of staff will ensure that there are good communication links with pupils and parents in case the school is forced to close. We will use email, the sms system and the website to provide updates, and we ask all of you to check carefully so that you receive the latest information. We will also make sure that we keep the Parents Association updated on all information. At this stage there is no requirement for us to close the school, but things may change at very short notice. In any case we will respond to any instructions from the Dutch authorities or from the Central Office in Brussels. Teachers will try to put in place ways to support pupils in their learning by using the digital means we have just in case it becomes necessary. Our priority here is with the S7 Baccalaureate classes.
In the meantime all we can do is to remain as calm, vigilant, creative and practical as possible, and hope that we can get to the Easter holidays with as much normal schooling as possible. We will all need to work together, and I wish all of you strength during a difficult time. I will stay in contact with you in this way on a regular basis.
Steve Lewis, Director European School Bergen
Please find below the communication from the Office of the Secretary-General in Brussels regarding the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) which has been prepared in cooperation with the European Commission’s Medical Services. The information will be updated regularly.
Brussels, 10th March 2020
Communication regarding the outbreak of COVID-19 disease
This communication updates the former one, regarding the outbreak of COVID-19. We are in regular contact with the relevant services of the European Commission and we have received several updated information published by these services.
We have taken various measures to better protect all members of the Schools Communities and with which you are expected to comply. As communicated before concerning the following areas precautionary measures are to be put in place by the European Schools. These areas, as of today, are China, Hong Kong, Macau and Italy as of now (but not with retroactivity).
- Any children returning from such areas, as well as children whose close family members have returned from these areas should be admitted to the European Schools only 14 days after their return date and on the condition that the whole family remains asymptomatic. Further instructions for the admissions will be issued in due time.
- Any member of staff working in a European School should avoid travelling to such areas and, if they do so, they should also only return to work after 14 days have passed since their return date. Again, further instructions for the admissions will be issued in due time.
The European School Brussels 2 – Woluwe had to implement additional measures taken by the Commune of Woluwe-Saint-Lambert for schools regarding children that return from the Italian regions of Veneto and Lombardy.
The European School Brussels 3 was closed on Monday and Tuesday (9 and 10 March 2020) since Belgian Medical Authorities informed the school that one of the parents has been tested Corona positive. The children of this parent show no symptoms. The closure of the school was a preventive measure and the school will re-open tomorrow (11 March).
The European School Munich is closed since two students have been tested Corona positive. As a result, the health department has ordered the school to suspend school operations at both school sites for 14 days from Monday, 9.3.2020. All events/trips during this period must be cancelled. This also applies to MEC (Model European Council).
The European School Varese had to implement additional measures taken by the Italian Authorities, namely the closure of the pedagogical activities up to April 3rd.
In case national authorities of the hosting Member State do foresee stricter rules for national educational institutions, these rules shall also be applied by the European Schools.
The FAMES (Festival of Art and Music of the European Schools) scheduled for 11-14 March in Luxembourg is now postponed until a later date. An update will be published in due course.
In the event that a member of staff has had any contact with a sick person infected with the novel coronavirus COVID-19 or has developed any symptoms, you are advised to get in contact with your general practitioner for advice and care. If you do not have a GP, you can contact the relevant national number for guidance on where to go:
Brussels and Belgium
The Belgian government has now published a helpline on its official coronavirus website: 0800/14689. The e-mail address for queries remains the same: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website (FR/NL/DE/EN):
Direction de la santé, Division de l’inspection sanitaire (24h/24) : Tel (+352) 8002 8080 ou via 112
Ispra and other JRC sites
In case of medical emergency, call 112.
IMPORTANT: Always inform the caregiver about your recent travel history and do not go to the clinic without prior telephone contact.
As the situation is evolving, these instructions will go on being updated, in close cooperation with the relevant services of the European Commission.
We briefly recall the standard hygiene recommendations that will reduce exposure to, and transmission of, viral respiratory illness, that we recommend to recall to the School Community:
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands;
- Avoid close contact with anyone who has cold or flu-like symptoms (fever and cough);
- Frequently clean your hands by using alcohol-based hand cleanser or soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
- When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with flexed elbow (not hands!) or a tissue – throw the tissue away immediately and wash your hands;
- Update your flu-vaccination: this will not protect you against the coronavirus, but may protect you from getting flu-related respiratory symptoms
A more complete information can be found on the website of WHO (World Health Organisation):
We finally remind, in general and more importantly in the present context, that children who develop any symptoms should visit their general practitioner and follow his/her advice and when relevant remain at home. The same is recommended to members of staff.