In Denmark DLF works hard so that the health and safety of education personnel is protected in back-to-school policies

Information current: 20 April 2020

The COVID 19 outbreak is a public health crisis quite different than anything Europe has faced for many years. As education personnel and their trade unions grapple with the outbreak, we are supporting and informing member organisations in any way we can.

The COVID-19 crisis has resulted in a six-week lockdown in Denmark, but the country is now looking towards an exit strategy which includes the reopening of education institutions. ETUCE member organisation DLF is closely following the governmental discussions and measures, and actively voicing the concerns of education personnel.

The Danish education sector is gradually preparing for the reopening of schools, universities and other education institutions, which have been shut down since 16 March. Kindergartens and primary schools will go first, opening from 15 April onwards. DLF is extremely busy providing the Danish government with the views of education personnel on the necessary precautions to ensure a safe return to school. They emphasise the need for close cooperation between schools and municipalities with the health and safety of the school community as the paramount principle. Moreover, the education trade union is closely monitoring the situation on the ground and advocating against unfair treatment and disregard of collective agreements.

DLFs active engagement has already brought concrete benefits for education personnel, in particular for at-risk education personnel suffering from health conditions such as asthma and diabetes. These staff were initially supposed to go back to work but the government is now encouraging them to only do so should if cleared by their doctor.

DLF also reports that the hard work of teaching staff and the limits of remote teaching are widely recognised in these ‘emergency teaching’ circumstances, with the generalisation of remote, and often online, teaching. Education trade unions have continuously stressed that quality education entails the protection of teacher-student interaction, which serves as a key socialising element of school life. In this regard, COVID-19 highlights what education trade unions have been vocally insisting for years: teachers will never be replaceable.

Image by Andreas Jalsøe on Wikimedia Commons, used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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The ETUCE Secretariat sends solidarity to all teachers, academics and other education personnel and their education trade unions as they react to and tackle this unprecedented crisis. We invite ETUCE member organisations to inform the ETUCE Secretariat about the challenges you face, how you are responding, which good practices you have developed and can share with colleagues, as well as your needs for support from the ETUCE family. Contact ETUCE at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..