The dispute over the reopening of schools and kindergartens in the Corona crisis is intensifying. More and more federal states are now planning a gradual return to regular operations – although there is as yet no reliable information about the risk of infection that children have.
“The truth is that we currently have a study situation that does not allow any real conclusions to what extent children contribute to the spread of the virus,” said Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn of the “Augsburger Allgemeine”. “There are very different assessments – and that makes it particularly difficult to make political decisions.”
Spahn pointed out that there is new scientific knowledge about the virus almost every day. This also forces politics to change assessments and adapt measures. “Kindergarten and school are particularly difficult,” he said.
In order to curb the spread of the corona virus, all federal states closed schools and daycare centers in mid-March. In the meantime, school operations and care in daycare centers are gradually being ramped up again everywhere, but there is no uniform line.
Schleswig-Holstein, for example, had decided on Wednesday that all elementary school students should go back to school there from June 8th – without any distance rules. The daycare centers should be able to switch from emergency care to restricted regular operation at the beginning of June. By the start of the summer vacation on June 29, the daycare centers are said to be 100 percent full nationwide.
Contradiction: 1.5 meters distance does not apply to children
The Education and Science Union (GEW) sees the health of teachers as endangered. The plans are considered premature, said GEW state chair Astrid Henke. The larger the group, the greater the risk to the health of educators: “Citizens should continue to keep a distance of 1.5 meters from each other. This should not apply to 25 children in elementary school classes that are often too small and difficult to ventilate. What a contradiction! ”Criticized Henke.
The President of the German Teachers’ Association, Heinz-Peter Meidinger, warned against starting school again now. “This requires a completely new hygiene and health protection concept that cannot be easily conjured up out of a hat,” said Meidinger of the “Passauer Neue Presse”.
If you want to forego distance rules and bring all students back to the classroom, breathing masks in the classroom, extensive tests, small study groups throughout the school day and regular ventilation would be necessary. “The current hygiene concept of the Conference of Ministers of Education would have to be completely revised,” said Meidinger.
“A lost generation”
The German Children’s Fund, on the other hand, warned of serious consequences for children and adolescents if schools and daycare centers were not to open fully again soon. “We must not allow collateral damage to grow,” said President Thomas Krüger of the “World”. The absence of the familiar teaching and learning environment is a serious encroachment on the living environment and the fundamental rights of children, which also affect their psycho-social development.
Later disadvantages on the job market are also to be feared: “If we don’t go all the way to fully opening schools and daycare centers, we may be dealing with a lost generation,” said Krüger.
The left reaffirmed its demand to invite to a summit in the Chancellery before the summer break. “It should be a major political goal in the coming weeks that schools and daycare centers nationwide can resume normal operations at the end of the summer vacation,” said parliamentary group leader Dietmar Bartsch of the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung”.