Bavaria’s Education Minister Michael Piazzolo has announced that schools in the Free State will start face-to-face classes again next week. “We want face-to-face lessons, we have face-to-face classes, we will start face-to-face lessons next week, just like other federal states,” he said at BR24 Rundschau.
The minister emphasized that after the federal state meeting on Friday, there will be no new model that school administrators will have to adjust over the weekend. However, he did not rule out continuing to make detailed changes to quarantine regulations in consultation with the Ministry of Health.
Piazolo: ready for anything
Politician Free Voter admitted that it was not yet possible to assess the impact of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, but this person was ready for anything. “It is always important to monitor Corona, developments and mutations,” the minister stressed.
With regard to Omicron, teachers’ associations, among others, have recently called for at least consideration to return to distance learning. Piazolo said there was no way there should be distance learning again. The “decisive factor” is hospital occupancy, not infection rate. In the interview, Piazolo also confirmed that extensive efforts will be made to help children with learning difficulties from the distance learning period.
Education ministers will advice on Wednesday
Schools in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Berlin, Saxony and Rhineland-Palatinate reopened on Monday. In Berlin – with the exception of vaccinated students – there is a daily obligation to test. Saarland follows on Tuesday, Hamburg on Wednesday – depending on the schools’ decision – Thuringia. According to current planning, the other half of the federal states will resume work in schools next week.
Responsible culture ministers in the federal states will discuss how to move forward in a video conference on Wednesday. The results should also flow into talks between the prime ministers of the federal states and Chancellor Olaf Schultz (SPD) on Friday, where other possible measures regarding the omicron wave will be discussed. In the past few months, education ministers have always spoken out in favor of keeping schools open.
Comprehensive school closures are not possible
A blanket closure is no longer possible after changes to the infection protection law were made by traffic lights parties. So Thuringia had to withdraw the plan to start the new year with distance learning. Education Minister Helmut Holter (left), who wanted to “pre-empt the wave”, now leaves it up to schools in Thuringia to decide how they want to proceed.
Federal Education Minister Stark-Watzinger reiterated her position: “Teaching in attendance is a matter of equal opportunity,” the FDP politician wrote on Twitter. “We must do everything we can to keep schools open. All students, parents and teachers have a good and safe start!” The head of the Bundestag Education Committee, Kai Gering (the Greens), tweeted: “Most learners find it easier to teach in person than remote teaching. That is why it is important to keep schools open – with tests, masks, vaccinations, and air filters.”
Teaching face to face at what cost? Opinions differ
The Professional Union of Pediatricians has called on schools to continue working even as the number of coronavirus infections increases. There are a number of ways to avoid school closures despite the increasing epidemiological situation, said association president Thomas Fischbach of “Ärzte Zeitung” (online).
“We want children to be taught as long as it is justified – if it is possible in person, if it is possible in the classroom,” North Rhine-Westphalia state premier Hendrik Fust said on the morning ARD programme.
The German Child Protection Association has criticized the strict insistence on face-to-face teaching. “Insisting on face-to-face teaching in all circumstances cannot be a solution,” President Heinz Helgers told the Rheinische Post.