This is the seventh in a series of stories looking at the new reality of life during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Maritimes. You can find the full series here.
Its a bright and sunny morning in Aarhus, Denmark, and the Silverstein twins are headed back to school amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Danish government closed schools for a month when the pandemic first hit but Denmark was the first country in Europe to reopen classrooms.
“We were scared, really anxious,” said Tamara Silverstein, the twins’ parent.
Denmark has a population of nearly six million people, and so far there have been 563 deaths related to the coronavirus.
When restrictions were lifted, daycares and elementary schools opened first.
“The first day they came back they said it was the best day of their lives,” said Silverstein.
The Silversteins’ lives going back to a new normal was part of Denmark’s emergency education plan. Strict guidelines meant students and teachers had to stay two metres apart and parents were not allowed on school property.
Students now eat lunch at their desks and have a bubble of four or five friends they can play with outside. The bubbles do not change.
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“They had set up sinks there and they could wash their hands in the schoolyard before they go inside,” said Silverstein.
Silverstein says the curriculum is now more creative and not at the level it was before COVID-19.