Photos of Danish children returning to school while staying six feet apart highlight the country's cautious approach to lifting its lockdown measures

Ritzau Scanpix/Bo Amstrup/ReutersParents stand with their children in a line as they wait to get inside Stengaard School following the coronavirus outbreak in Denmark on April 15, 2020.
  • Denmark became the first European country under lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic to reopen schools for its youngest students.
  • Children in daycare and primary school arrived to new classroom setups that included desks spaced six feet apart and lessons conducted in gymnasiums beginning on April 15, 2020.
  • The decision to reopen schools has prompted concern from Danish parents. Over 40,000 people have joined a Facebook group called “My child should not be a guinea pig for COVID-19” as of publishing time.
  • Denmark is pursuing a gradual reopening strategy following a decline in the rate of new coronavirus infections. For now, high schools and universities remain closed, and students living with at-risk family members will be permitted to continue learning remotely.
  • Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen cautioned that the country can’t lift restrictions too quickly or else it will risk a rise in infections.
  • Recent photos of Danish children returning to school highlight the country’s cautious approach to lifting its lockdown measures.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.


Denmark became the first country in Europe on coronavirus lockdown to reopen its daycare centres and primary schools after experiencing a decline in the rate of new infections.

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Parents with their children stand in a queue waiting to get inside Stengaard School in Denemark on April 15, 2020.

Source: Reuters, Business Insider


Students had been home since March 16 and returned to find that their schools weren’t quite as they left them.

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A sticker reading “Smiling is contagious” is seen at the playground at Stengaard School in Gladsaxe on April 14, 2020.

Now, desks are placed six feet apart, and drop-off times are staggered due to social distancing guidelines still in place.

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Pupils are seen during lunch break at the Korshoejskolen school in Randers on April 15, 2020.

Source: Danish Police, Reuters


Some teachers brought their lessons outside …

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Rebekka Hjorth holds a music lesson outdoors with her class at the Korshoejskolen school in Randers on April 15, 2020.

Source: Reuters


… and others moved classes into gymnasiums.

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The gym of the Stengaard School is pictured in Gladsaxe on April 14, 2020.

Source: Getty


While Denmark’s youngest students are resuming in-person classes, high schools and universities remain closed through May 10.

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Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen speaks with pupils as she participates in the reopening of Lykkebo School in Valby on April 15, 2020.

Source: Danish Police, Reuters


Denmark plans to lift restrictions gradually over the coming weeks, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen explained in a news conference on April 6. “If we open Denmark too quickly we risk that infections rise too sharply and then we have to close down again,” she said.

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Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen speaks during a news conference on the coronavirus outbreak in Copenhagen on April 6, 2020.

Source: Reuters


Restaurants and caf├ęs also remain closed, and gatherings of 10 or more people are banned.

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Anders Gadegaard poses after performing a livestream Good Thursday worship in front of more than one hundred selfies, all sent by the congregation via the internet, at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen on April 9, 2020.

Source: Danish Police, Business Insider


A growing number of Danish parents and caretakers are expressing their concerns about sending their children back to school due to fears of infection. Since April 6, more than 40,000 have joined a Facebook group called “My child should not be a guinea pig for COVID-19.”

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A pupil washes his hands at the Korshoejskolen school in Randers on April 15, 2020.

Source: Facebook,Reuters


Some have decided to keep their children home, but have been told they must home school if they decide to do so. Only children who live with family members at high risk for infection are eligible to continue remote learning, according to government guidelines.

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A sign above a row of coat hooks at Stengaard School in Gladsaxe reads “We look after each other.” April 14, 2020.

Source: Facebook, Danish Police


One mother expressed her predicament in the Facebook group. “I have twins in 5th grade, and we are so unsure whether or not they should start Friday. Most people want them to stay home, but home education is difficult without help from the school,” she wrote.

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Students wash their hands during a break at Korshoejskolen school in Randers on April 15, 2020.

Source: Facebook


Under usual circumstances, extended absence without a doctor’s note can result in a family losing their child support benefits, but the Ministry of Children and Education has eased its policy for the time being.

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“2 metre” marks painted on a walkway outside the Stengaard School in Gladsaxe note where students should stand in line in order to practice social distancing while waiting to enter the school. April 14, 2020.

Source: Ministry of Children and Education, Facebook


Reopening the country “will probably be a bit like walking the tightrope,” Frederiksen admitted. “If we stand still along the way we could fall, and if we go too fast it can go wrong.”

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Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen speaks with pupils as she participates in the reopening of Lykkebo School in Valby on April 15, 2020.

Source: Reuters


Denmark announced its first lockdown measures on March 11 and was the second country in Europe to do so, following Italy’s lead. Since then, most countries have followed suit.

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Residents close up Freetown Christiania, an anarchist commune in Copenhagen, on March 21, 2020.So

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider


Compared to Italy and France, where residents face fines and jail time if they leave their houses for an unapproved reason, Denmark’s coronavirus response has not been strict. But the country’s response is not as relaxed as neighbouring Sweden, where restaurants, bars, and other gathering places remain open. Danes can still leave the house at will as long as they heed the ban on public gatherings.

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Sightseeing boats lie empty at the quay in Copenhagen Harbour on April 8, 2020.

Source: Business Insider


While Denmark appears to have flattened the curve of new infections, only time will tell which country took the right approach, Lars Ostergaard, chief consultant and professor at the Department of Infectious Diseases at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark told the Associated Press. “No one has walked this path before, and only the aftermath will show who made the best decision,” he said.

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German police stand on the German-Danish border crossing near Froslev, Denmark on March 16, 2020.

Source: Associated Press

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