The easing of mask requirements in schools likely won’t be until November

Corona pandemic in NRW
The easing of mask requirements in schools likely won’t be until November

At the end of the summer holidays, the number of infections with Corona returned to the rise. Meanwhile, the numbers are down and there are also discussions in NRW about easing the obligation to wear masks in schools. Teachers’ associations warn of a snapshot.

In the debate over the obligation to wear masks in schools in North Rhine-Westphalia, the focus will be on easing in November at the earliest – with a period of time after the autumn break. Several teachers’ associations warned on Tuesday right before a meeting with School Minister Yvonne Jabauer (FDP) that there would be no accelerated action and quick facilitation. The development at the end of the summer holidays also played a role, when new infections surged again and quarantine measures had to be taken. Many have warned that face-to-face lessons after the fall break – which runs from October 11-24 – should not be jeopardized.

Stefan Bellau, president of the Education and Training Consortium, said shortly before talks with Gebauer. “This has to be evaluated, so it seems right and reasonable to act with caution, at least when starting again right after the holiday.”

The Association of Linguists also called for a temporary time before a possible relaxation of mask requirements in schools. Sabine Misler, president of the High School Teachers Association, has demanded that experiments should not be conducted “shortly before and after fall break, such as when masks become mandatory.” First, you should use the Corona tests to monitor how exactly the number of infections develops in schools after returning from vacation. Then it will show whether the masks can fall off.

The NRW Education and Science Consortium supports maintaining the mask requirement for now, said Managing Director Michael Schulte. It would be hasty to decide now that it will be canceled after the fall holidays. “We are still in the epidemic,” he stressed. You can still decide on the issue of mask requirements in November. “Please wait and be careful,” Schulte warned, warning the state government not to squeeze the tube unnecessarily when coronavirus measures in schools are eased.

Some federal states have already relaxed, or eliminated, the obligation to wear masks in class, or are planning to take appropriate steps.

Gebauer announced to the State Parliament’s Schools Committee last week that he would provide information on the matter in time for the fall recess. There will also be a letter to the parents. The state’s previous coronavirus care regulation ends Friday, practically the same time as NRW’s fall vacation begins. Jabauer indicated in the committee that the number of new infections in Corona is declining on the one hand, and on the other hand, there were warnings of a new wave of infections. She also referred to corona tests for school students.

The Association of Linguists explained that many schools have had to deal with more bureaucracy since the summer holidays. The school administration and teachers are overburdened. They should finally be able to focus on their lessons and pedagogical tasks again rather than having to worry about corona exams and being repeatedly forced to change course organizationally due to the many changes in political requirements. Face-to-face and remote tutoring for absent students are still a part of everyday life, which also means a lot of time and organizational effort.


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