Monday, May 17

German teachers call for uniform Covid rules in schools across the country

Ahead of Thursday afternoon’s meeting of the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK), teacher associations and student representatives called for uniform rules at the national level for school openings and coronavirus testing.

This is what they would like to see implemented throughout the Bundesrepublik.

Uniform openings and mandatory tests

“The ball is now in the court of the education ministers,” the president of the Association of German Teachers, Heinz-Peter Meidinger, told Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland.

“Now they can show if they can finally get to establish national rules for schools more than a year after the start of the pandemic.”

READ ALSO: All children in Germany should go back to school in March, state ministers agreed

Meidinger emphasized the need for compulsory exams “twice a week” for all students in Germany.

He also said that a uniform line was needed on the issue of school openings.

“It is not acceptable for all federal states to do what they want, and individual states say they will open regardless of incidents (the number of Covid infections per 100,000 people in seven days).”

At the last federal-state summit on the coronavirus on March 22, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the 16 state prime ministers decided to offer two tests per week for students “as soon as possible”.

Several states have implemented this, but it is unclear if this is happening everywhere.

In some states, mandatory tests have also been announced: Students must be able to participate in face-to-face classes only after a negative test.

Closure with incidence greater than 100

When a region reaches a 7-day incidence of more than 100 coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants, “schools must be closed,” Meidinger emphasized.

However, he said that if the vaccination campaign among teachers is “well advanced”, school boards, together with local health authorities, should be able to decide whether class lessons are still possible.

But it hasn’t come yet: due to an ongoing debate on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccineThere is currently a setback in vaccinating teachers, Meidinger said.

The general secretary of the Federal Pupils Conference, Dario Schramm, also called on education ministers to agree on a standard policy for school vacancies throughout Germany.

“However, at hotspots with incidents greater than 100, there should be mandatory distance learning, with exceptions only for high school graduates and graduating classes,” Schramm said.

READ ALSO: ANALYSIS: Why Switzerland did not follow Germany’s example and close schools

Surprising decisions are not expected

In the run-up to their meeting, the KMK said the talks also served to prepare for the upcoming coronavirus summit between Merkel and state prime ministers scheduled for Monday, April 12.

In nine of the 16 federal states, the Easter holidays end on Sunday.

Depending on the state, certain grades are now being sent to distance learning as a precautionary measure. In other places, there is a combination of classroom and online teaching.

Each of the states of Germany has the power to decide for itself on educational matters.

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