Status: 01/10/2022 09:15 AM
In schools in NRW state, classes began again on the Monday after the holiday. Despite the high number of injuries, face-to-face teaching applies everywhere.
In many other federal states, they have been back in school for a long time. As of Monday, NRW State Children and Youth vacations have ended. In principle, all schools start with face-to-face classes – despite Omikron and the massive increase in the number of coronavirus infections. School ministries in all federal states had unanimously decided at their conference on Wednesday.
Among people under 19, the incidence in NRW on Sunday was about 439, and on January 1 it was still 279. Although this is a significant increase, the curve for children and adolescents in this country is not rising as sharply as it is With 20 to 39 years old.
On Wednesday, NRW School Minister Yvonne Gibor (FDP) reiterated after the Education Ministers’ Conference: The top priority remains to keep schools open and continue to ensure face-to-face teaching “so that our children and youth can exercise their right to education even during the pandemic.”
And on Sunday evening, Jabauer repeated that claim in “Current Time” on WDR TV. Exception: Many teachers are absent due to illness. “If this is no longer possible in individual schools, they can switch to distance learning.”
This is what the new school start schedule looks like:
- The following have become mandatory since Monday: mandatory masks in class, quick tests three times a week at school, and regular ventilation. What is new is that the obligation to get tested also applies to those who have been vaccinated and those who have recovered.
- In addition, all students and school staff must be fully tested once on a Monday at the start of school – i.e. also the kitchen helper, cleaning staff or school superintendent. Gebauer emphasized that all schools had already received “sufficient and high-quality testing”. The tests will “respond to all known virus variants including the omicron variant”.
- Furthermore, teachers and other school staff who have been vaccinated or recovered must take an antigen self-test “at their own risk” three times a week or submit a negative citizen test.
- Unvaccinated employees must take a school-supervised antigen self-test every day they are at school—or they can submit a negative citizen test.
- In elementary and private schools, PCR lollipop tests should be done twice a week in the pool procedure – in an “improved” form: children must turn in a second sample, called a backup sample for the first time. If the pool test, in which several samples were analyzed together, produces a positive result, the affected child can be found more quickly. In this way, students who are not infected by a day in quarantine are excused.
Teachers’ associations generally agree that classroom instruction should continue. But it is also clear that “there should be no face-to-face education at any cost,” the North Rhine-Westphalian Union of Linguists (PhV NRW) wrote Thursday. Distance learning remains the “maximum percentage when a secure existence is no longer possible”. On the other hand, teaching in rotation turned out to be a heavy double burden for teachers: “Last year, teachers sometimes had to hold face-to-face lessons and set up remote classes at the same time.”
PhV-NRW President Sabine Misler expressed her lack of understanding that not all schools in this country are still equipped with air filtration systems. It is difficult to understand the reliance on forced ventilation only in winter. Minister Gebauer had referred WDRo to the Federal Environment Agency, which warned against “overestimating” air filters. Classes “can’t avoid” regular broadcasts this year either.
Misler is also critical of the state’s announced reduction in quarantines for some professional groups, including teachers. Paradoxically, “those who already have a lot of contact with others must now also be exposed to special risks.”
The German Association of Linguists has called for a specific step-by-step plan that should be based on infection rate, vaccination rate and hospitalization rate and can be implemented on site as the case may be. This also includes a plan that establishes a ‘quarantine ratio’ for teachers and students for which face-to-face teaching can be justified.
Children’s charity: Schools must remain open
The deputy head of the German Children’s Fund, Anne Lutkes, told the newspaper “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung” that it should be possible to maintain face-to-face classes in schools despite the increasing number of infections. Children living in disadvantaged conditions in particular would have suffered the most from the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and should not be left behind.
Lutex criticized that too little has been done in the past two years to make schools safer. For example, there is an “almost permanent lack of parity of spatial contraction in many schools and day care centres”. The procurement and operation of air filter systems has failed “often due to administrative regulations and a supposed lack of financial resources”.