COVID-19: School closures in Europe

As the Covid-19 epidemic spreads all over the world, countries decided to implement extraordinary restrictive measures aimed at stopping contagions and easing the extreme levels of pressure experienced by hospitals and healthcare workers. In order to favour social distancing practices and avoid large gatherings, 26 out of 27 European countries – the only exception being Sweden – decided to close schools and move to online learning classes. On May 14, some governments have already allowed students to go back to school, while others are planning to wait until the beginning of the next academic year.

We have analyzed the timelines adopted by the 27 European countries. Twenty-six of them shut down schools in the timeframe 9 March-20 March. On 14 April, Denmark was the first country to reopen its school system, even though only for elementary school students. All the other countries waited until at least 4 May to reopen, and most of them started to gradually lift restrictions on 11 May.

Most European students will go back to class before the end of the current academic year. At the moment, the countries that plan to reopen schools in September are Italy, Spain, Ireland, Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia, Malta, and parts of Estonia. Portugal will also reopen its primary and middle schools in the fall.

Here’s an updated overview of the current situation, broken down by the 26 European countries which decided to close their schools due to the Covid-19 pandemic. To complete this we’ve collaborated with several SOMA partners, including the Austrian Center for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage, Artevelde Hogeschool, University of Nicosia, Faktabaari, Ekome, Maison Moderne, and Kosciuszko Institute.