Coronavirus

School opening: teachers and educators could be vaccinated earlier

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Schools and daycare centers are to open at the beginning of the week in ten other federal states. And that’s exactly at the moment when the corona numbers are going up again in many places. At least the employees should now get a faster vaccination offer. Employees at elementary schools and daycare centers can expect their turn to get the corona vaccination faster than previously planned.

Just like Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) and several federal states, Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek also supports corresponding plans. “Both professional groups perform tasks that are of great importance for our entire society, which should also be shown in the vaccination prioritization,” said the CDU politician of the German press agency. A fundamental decision is expected at the beginning of the week.

Shortly before school operations start in ten federal states this Monday, there are increasing indications that a third corona wave could be imminent in Germany. Despite the strict lockdown, the number of new infections every day has barely decreased or not decreased at all. Experts attribute this to the spread of much more contagious virus variants. Against this background, the debate about a faster corona vaccination for teachers and educators has picked up significantly new momentum.

The current vaccination ordinance is to be changed so that teachers and educators can vaccinate earlier

In the vaccination sequence in Germany, three large groups were defined: group one with “highest priority”, group two: “high priority” and group three: “increased priority”. According to the current vaccination ordinance, daycare and primary school employees are in group three and would therefore probably not be there until the summer. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the heads of government of the federal states asked the Ministry of Health at their most recent meeting to check whether these employees could be brought forward. For this, the current vaccination ordinance would have to be changed.

According to Baden-Württemberg’s Minister of Health, Manne Lucha, this change is already in progress. A fundamental decision should probably also be made in the health ministers’ conference this Monday, said the Green politician on Saturday in Stuttgart. Spahn had also announced that they wanted to take the employees at daycare centers and primary schools quickly to the next higher vaccination group and make a vaccination offer earlier.

“If a large number of teachers and employees in the daycare centers are protected by a vaccination, this would be a contribution to being able to teach pupils in the schools themselves or to be able to look after children in the day-care centers,” said Karliczek. That would also be a recognition of the achievements of the teachers and the employees in the daycare centers, who like hardly any other professional groups have contact with others, she added.

Experts criticize the school openings before the teachers are vaccinated

The Association for Education and Upbringing (VBE) warned against an opening competition between the countries. “The openings are not a competition in which the federal state wins, which implements the most extensive easing and risks the health of everyone involved to the maximum,” said VBE boss Udo Beckmann to the editorial network Germany (RND / Sonntag). Whoever wants to open has to make vaccination offers. It is good that the prioritization of teachers when vaccinating is checked. “The only question is when a decision will be made – and why the school should open before that.”

This Monday, elementary schools will open again in ten other countries. There is either so-called alternating operation with half classes that come to school alternately, or full operation with fixed groups that should not meet if possible. At daycare centers, more children or all of them are allowed to return to childcare.

That also differs in the countries. For older students and young people, what is known as distance learning continues. Final classes remain exempt from this. In Lower Saxony, elementary school students have been back in schools since January, and in Saxony since the beginning of this week. The daycare centers in the Free State have also been open again since Monday.

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