Children who are infected with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, are far less likely to become seriously ill. They almost never need to be hospitalised. Children who do end up in hospital are usually vulnerable as a result of another disease. See the overview of the COVID-19 epidemiological situation in the Netherlands.

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Unvaccinated children are still less contagious than unvaccinated adults. However, most primary school children are unvaccinated, while many adults are vaccinated. As a result, children are relatively less well protected compared to adults. Children mainly infect other children and their parents.  Read more about the spread of the virus.

When to go to school or childcare, when to stay home

Children who have symptoms should stay home and use a self-test. If you are unable or unwilling to use a self-test on your child, make an appointment for your child to be tested by the Municipal Health Service (GGD).

Information on when to keep your child home from childcare or primary school can be found at
Children and adolescents in secondary school, vocational education (MBO) or higher education are subject to the
basic rules for staying home that apply to everyone.
If a family member belongs to a
risk group, consult with the doctor and the school management.

For more information on guidelines for the education sector, see

More information for childcare and  schools

The website of the Dutch Government offers detailed information on the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in the context of various types of childcare and education (currently only available in Dutch). This includes protocols to minimise the spread of the virus:

More information about the hygiene guidelines (specific protocols only available in Dutch):

More information about ventilating indoor spaces: also has more information for pregnant workers.

Researching the role of children in the spread of the virus

RIVM is conducting various studies on the role of children in the spread of SARS-CoV-2:

  • Working with Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs) in the Netherlands, RIVM is conducting a detailed study on the reports and outbreaks of COVID-19 infections received from these public health authorities.
  • RIVM is working closely with the monitoring stations operated by the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (NIVEL) to investigate the registrations provided by GPs on patients with flu-like symptoms who are tested for COVID-19.
  • RIVM is conducting research among  COVID-19 patients and their family contacts in the Netherlands. The results of the first part of this study are known. The second part of the family study started recently, focusing on households where the child was the first infected person in the family.
  • The RIVM study on SARS-CoV-2 infections in primary schools was completed in 2021.
  • RIVM has taken blood samples to test for antibodies against COVID-19 in the PIENTER Corona Study.
  • RIVM is keeping track of relevant literature on children and COVID-19. This also includes studies that have been conducted in other countries.

Research results

Go to the page presenting the latest research results on children, schools and COVID-19

Frequently Asked Questions

What about the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and my child’s vaccinations in the context of the National Immunisation Programme?

It is very important for your child to receive the usual vaccinations from the National Immunisation Programme. If, for example, you postpone the 14-month shots, there is a risk that your child will contract diseases such as measles and meningococcal meningitis. These are highly contagious diseases that still occur in the Netherlands. If you or your child has cold symptoms or a fever, or if someone in the family has a fever, please contact the well-baby clinic.

Would you like to know more about vaccinations and the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2? Go to the frequently asked questions on the site of the National Immunisation Programme (in Dutch).

The latest facts and figures can be found on the page on research results about children and COVID-19.