Omikron also poses a danger for schools: Will the educational institutions remain open even if the corona infection numbers go up steeply?
Berlin – Today, Wednesday (January 5th, 2022), the education ministers of the federal states will be discussing the situation at schools in Germany in a special service. The background to this is the growing concern about the number of corona cases and the expected wave of omicron. In the middle of the week, classes resume in half of the federal states after the Christmas break. Millions more students are returning to school next week from vacation.
The main focus of the consultations is on how school operations can be maintained even when the number of infections increases sharply. Large-scale school closings should not be an issue, as representatives of several federal states made clear in the run-up to the deliberations. Instead, simplified quarantine rules were called for. Binding agreements are not to be expected from the consultations of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK): Since education is a state matter, the KMK usually takes decisions that are more of an appeal character.
Despite Omikron: keep schools open as long as possible
The coordinator of the SPD-governed federal states in the KMK, Hamburg’s school senator Ties Rabe, told the German Press Agency: “I assume that the Conference of Ministers of Education will once again reaffirm its decision to keep schools open as long as possible.” Have a better view of the needs of children and young people than before, said Schleswig-Holstein’s Education Minister Karin Prien (CDU), who took over the KMK presidency at the beginning of the year, to the newspapers of the Funke media group. “That means that we will only close the schools when all other options have been exhausted.”
Federal Minister of Education Bettina Stark-Watzinger assured the federal states of aid. “I very much hope that the Standing Conference will speak out in favor of keeping schools open with Omikron. As a federal government, we support everything that is necessary to make this possible, ”the FDP politician told the media.
A situation like a year ago should be avoided
Hesse’s minister of culture, Alexander Lorz (CDU), coordinator for the CDU-governed countries in the KMK, called for a decision on Friday (January 7th, 2022) between Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and the prime minister: inside Reduction of quarantine times. “Because schools with eleven million students nationwide and 800,000 teachers are part of the critical infrastructure for me, which now has to be specially protected,” said Lorz of the dpa.
A situation like the one in the Corona crisis a year ago should be avoided in schools. At that time the schools were in lockdown, which was only gradually lifted into the spring. Some students did not return to classes until May. Because of the long absences, it is estimated that almost a quarter of the students have built up or widened learning delays.
Omikron in children and adolescents is weaker than in adults
The President of the German Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Jörg Dötsch, who is also a member of the Federal Government’s Corona Expert Council, referred to the risk of mental and physical illnesses caused by closings. In addition, the schools could also help regulate the infection rate among children and adolescents through the good test system, he told the dpa. “Fortunately, the Omikron variant, similar to the Delta variant, is much weaker in children and adolescents than in adults. There is no aggravation here. “
Comprehensive school closings are no longer possible after changes to the Infection Protection Act by the traffic light parties. Thuringia therefore had to withdraw its plan to start the new year with distance learning throughout the Free State. Now it is up to the schools to decide how to proceed.
Meanwhile, the chairwoman of the Education and Science Union (GEW), Maike Finnern, does not believe that face-to-face teaching will be possible at all schools. “We have to be honest,” she told the Business Insider portal. “There will be schools that have to teach at a distance”. (skr / dpa)
List of rubric lists: © Philipp von Ditfurth / dpa