School after vacation – this is how Corona exams were

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Classes with group test and torn windows

Classes began again Monday for nearly 2.5 million NRW students. All students, teachers and other staff must be tested for coronavirus on the first day of school after the holiday. Visit a high school in Dusseldorf.

It’s 8.01 a.m. on Monday, the start of classes at Thomas Edison High School in Düsseldorf-Flingern. Dominique Jagusch opens the white box with the self-tests and distributes them to her students. It is calm and civilized. It is usual for 10th graders to insert thin sticks into each nostril for 15 seconds. After 15 minutes, the result of the separation appears: all negative. Nobody has to go home.

For nearly 2.5 million schoolchildren in North Rhine-Westphalia, classes began again on Monday at the end of the Christmas holidays. All students, teachers and other staff at schools must be tested for coronavirus on the first day of school. The school minister, Yvonne Gebauer (FDP), announced that those who have been vaccinated and who have recovered will also have to take part in regular exams in schools. This Extended Test Commitment is intended to ensure additional security in the school’s operations. According to the ministry, the corona tests interact with all known virus variants including the omicron variant.

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Face-to-face lessons despite Corona

“Here mouth and nose protection is mandatory” is written on a poster at the main entrance to the Thomas Edison Realschule. Only those who have been vaccinated, those who have recovered and people with a negative rapid coronavirus test can access the building – the 3G rule applies. On Monday mornings, their teachers pick up students in the yard in front of the school before classes start. There are fixed positions so that the layers do not mix. Then he goes to the classroom, where the test materials are ready. “We always assume that the majority will test negative,” says Director Claudia Secker. On average, there are one or two positive cases per week at your school. The affected child is then brought to the school social worker. Then you talk about it with the child in question; Go out with him and wait until the parents come to pick him up,” Seeker says.

This Monday there is a positive case in the school. Vice President Melanie Lerch says any child who shows a positive result should not be afraid to be excluded from their classmates. The opposite is true. There are no negative feedback. Students take care of each other, build each other up.”

Rachel (16) and Princess (15) go to 10b at the Edison Realschule. They both have no problem taking the test at school in the morning. After all, this is good for their health, they say. “And it’s also good for our families and friends to know that we’ve had negative results,” Rachel says. Basically, the two are upset by the fact that school life is suffering due to the pandemic – class and graduation trips have been canceled, and trips and festivals can take place later. “Unfortunately, it was not possible to do many of the training sessions that would have been very important for us. As a result, we now lack a lot of experience,” Rachel says.

About 8:15 a.m., a knock on Anya Schmidt’s door; She is the school social worker at the Edison Realschule. He’s a boy who tested positive on Monday. Now he must be accompanied by his parents and undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Schmidt encourages him and tells him everything he needs to know now. The children who tested positive were a little scared at first. “You are a little scared. But then things will be fine again.” Most of them will not have symptoms. “If you do that, it’s just a mild cold,” Schmidt says.

The first two semesters at the Edison Realschule ended; The bell rings, children and young people leave the classroom and enter the yard. Everyone wears face masks. Never see a student who forgot to wear a mask. “We have a high level of discipline here. The students are all on board,” Seker says as the youngsters pass by. The children are also grateful to be able to come to school and not have to stay at home. “Educational classes are important to them. We, as a college, also support face-to-face teaching,” says Secker.

In principle, the NRW students’ pre-test rhythm will remain: in high schools, antigen self-tests are scheduled three times a week. In elementary and private schools as well as elementary-level schools, testing continues twice a week with PCR lollipop tests. Immunized school staff will undergo antigen self-tests or citizen testing three times a week starting Monday. School personnel who have not been immunized must continue to take a school-supervised antigen self-test on school attendance days or submit a citizen test.

Corona has changed everyday school life at the Thomas Edison Realschule. Even if lessons take place on site, not everything can be taught. Principal Sieker says, “Valuable teaching time is wasted through exams, which of course is lacking when it comes to achieving learning goals.” Students’ external conditions are also different from what they were before the pandemic. Almost all the windows of the building are opened so that fresh air flows all the time. It’s also cold in Dominic Gagoch’s class on Monday morning. Some of the students left jackets and scarves, one even wore gloves. “But no problem. One of the students says the most important thing is that neither of us results positive.”


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