What a crazy thing happened in school today

Hundreds of thousands of students are returning to schools - into the third wave. The federal government wants to close schools at an incidence of 165

BERLIN. School closed, school open: This week, children and young people in a number of federal states are coming back to the classroom, at least to alternate classes. This does not apply to numerous municipalities with too high corona numbers. Nonetheless, questions arise: How long can face-to-face teaching be maintained given the rapidly increasing number of infections? Doesn't additional face-to-face teaching make the wave rise even further? The GEW considers the federal limit of 200 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a week to be too high. Indeed, something seems to be changing here.

The 7-day incidence for the whole of Germany is currently 162 - and the trend is rising sharply, as the current management report from the Robert Koch Institute shows. “After a temporary decrease in the number of cases over the Easter holidays, the strong increase in the number of cases continues. The number of cases of COVID-19 has risen again in all age groups in the last few weeks, but particularly sharply in younger age groups, ”it says.

And: “In the majority of cases, the location of the infection is not known. Outbreaks caused by COVID-19 currently particularly affect private households, but also daycare centers, schools and the professional environment, while the number of outbreaks in old people's and nursing homes has decreased. because more is being tested, the RKI rejects: "The positive portion of the tests is increasing again and is over 12%."

(2) As the number of people vaccinated increases, the pandemic focuses more and more on students, teachers and parents. 7% of students and 14% of parents switch to #LongCovid after infection. Nobody can want that. Many parents in their mid-40s have risk factors. We put their lives in danger

- Karl Lauterbach (@Karl_Lauterbach) April 18, 2021

In some federal states such as Schleswig-Holstein and Hesse, the Easter holidays end in this location. Others - such as Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Wuerttemberg - are at least partially opening their schools to face-to-face teaching. So it will be full again in many Berlin schools from this Monday, because the 7th to 9th grades are returning to alternating classes despite the ongoing corona pandemic. The federal government wants to pass a new infection protection law this week, in which an incidence of 200 is set as a threshold for daycare and school operations. Closures are then compulsory. Some federal states, which have acted more cautiously so far, are now willing to take advantage of the legal leeway - and are opening schools in the middle of the third wave.

Numerous cities and districts in North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg are allowed to stay in distance learning

After a week of lessons at home, many children and young people in North Rhine-Westphalia have returned to their classrooms. Thousands, however, have to stay at home if they live in communities with a particularly high rate of new corona infections. On Monday, according to the Düsseldorf Ministry of Health, this already applied to 21 of a total of 53 cities and districts. Your new infection rate has been there for at least three days at 200 or higher, calculated for 100,000 inhabitants and seven days. The number of municipalities affected had increased steadily over the past few days.

"The plan to open the schools in the third wave has failed," said the GEW. "More than 40 percent of schools are already taking distance learning." That was already foreseeable, criticized the state chairman Maike Finnern. «The uncertainty is growing. The chaos is growing. " With the school ministry surprisingly announced the return to alternating lessons last week, the situation in the municipalities could change from day to day. "How long should it go on like this?" Asked Finnern. "The schools urgently need a perspective until the end of the school year."

The situation is similar in the southwest: In Baden-Württemberg, hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren are returning to their classrooms this week after being locked down for more than four months - but only with a mask, distance and a negative test result. The measure of the green-black state government is highly controversial because the country is in the middle of the third corona wave with rapidly increasing numbers of infections.

Starting today, Monday, according to plans by the Ministry of Culture, all grades of all school types should be taught face-to-face again - but mostly in alternation in order to reduce the risk of infection. Anyone who is at school for more than three days in a row must be tested twice a week. In 11 out of 44 urban and rural districts, however, the majority of schools will remain closed because they have either been three days above the incidence of 200 or are about to do so. These include Stuttgart and Ulm. About six other circles are just below the threshold.

In Corona hotspots with over 200 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants per week, there should only be distance learning, and daycare centers should then also be closed. There are exceptions for emergency care, graduating classes and the special education and care facilities (SBBZ).

The Education and Science Union (GEW) believes that the emergency brake in educational institutions must be pulled for everyone with an incidence value of 100 and above and that distance learning must be offered if the outbreak cannot be specifically defined in a municipality. “Children, schoolchildren, teachers and educational staff are severely affected by the virus mutation. The number 200 in the Infection Protection Act is a politically motivated setting so that schools and daycare centers can remain open. The value is not science-based, it is not oriented towards the health protection of teachers and students, ”said GEW chairman Marlis Tepe during a hearing of the Bundestag Committee on Health on the Civil Protection Act on Friday in Berlin.

"The alpha and omega remains the rapid and significant increase in the vaccination rate - even for teachers"

In principle, Tepe supported the initiative that the federal government now wants to make binding requirements nationwide for schools and daycare centers through the Infection Protection Act. However, this would have to be clearly limited in time. In the corona pandemic, for example, “clear red lines would be set and the federal patchwork quilt ended”. However, Tepe emphasized: “The alpha and omega remains the rapid and significant increase in the rate of vaccination. For this, all teachers and other employees in the education sector must be included in vaccination group 2. Only vaccinations offer a high level of protection for all people in schools, daycare centers, universities and adult education. Whoever wants to open has to vaccinate. "

(2) There is now the possibility of rescuing well over 10,000 people, mostly between the ages of 40-60 years, in the next 6 weeks, with a final strict lockdown. Or we are not ready for it because the restrictions are not worth 10,000 deaths to us. Then we would have failed.

- Karl Lauterbach (@Karl_Lauterbach) April 18, 2021

The GEW chairman made it clear that self-tests and rapid tests do not offer enough security to open schools and daycare centers up to an incidence of 200. So far, there is no sophisticated, tried and tested test strategy. To do this, around 24 million tests would have to be brought to schools every week. In addition, trained personnel from the German Red Cross (DRK) or the Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB) are required to carry out the tests safely. Tepe welcomed that learners were only allowed to visit educational institutions on a tested basis. She warned that all teachers and educators should receive test offers at least twice a week, but that they are critical of the obligation to test for employees.

According to a report by "Spiegel", the heads of the government factions of the CDU / CSU and SPD have agreed on changes to the draft for an infection protection law. Accordingly, the curfew should only take effect from 10 p.m. Individuals should also be allowed to go for a walk and jog outside without a dog until midnight. At the same time, however, the federal government's draft is to be tightened in various places. For children up to the age of 14, sports should continue to be possible in groups. In addition, the group leaders suggest that daycare centers and schools must close again from an incidence of 165 - not only, as previously planned, at a value of 200.

Hamburg's school senator Ties Rabe, who in the past year repeatedly declared schools safe and children practically non-contagious, said: “I am very disappointed: School closings are being tightened even further, but curfews for adults are being eased. Children are locked out of school so that adults can be out longer in the evening. That happens when the Bundestag makes school policy. " News4teachers / with material from the dpa

Intensive care units are full - Lauterbach: "Many children lose their parents"