33 children in one class, in a small space. It is difficult to keep your distance at the tables for two. All children have to wear their mask around the clock – on the way to school, in class, during breaks. The students are wearing their winter clothes. It is aired regularly, all windows open. The room is cold.
This is how a mother from Bavaria describes the situation at her children’s school to NewsABC.net.
A lot of the kids stayed home anyway. Also because the rules set by the Bavarian Ministry of Culture are so strict. In an information letter from the Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs to parents and legal guardians in Bavaria, it says: “Sick schoolchildren with acute, flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or earache, severe stomach pain, vomiting or diarrhea are not allowed to go to school.”
Only those who have had no symptoms of illness and no fever for 24 hours are allowed to go back to class. A slight runny nose and occasional coughing are okay – but only in grades 1 to 4. From grade 5: “You go to school on the day the symptoms appear
not allowed. ”Anyone who has been without cold symptoms and fever for 24 hours is allowed to come back. You also need a medical certificate or a negative corona test.
Why such differences in the classes? The letter does not contain anything about this, the parents remain in the dark.
Situation in Lower Saxony: “That was like assault”
In northern Germany, the situation is no different, reports a trainee lawyer from Lower Saxony to NewsABC.net.
Corona requirements, quarantine rules, hardly tried and tested digital teaching concepts, first no classroom teaching, then half classes, then whole classes again – but not in foreign language classes. Plus exam stress with just two teaching samples between summer and autumn holidays. “I’ve never reached my limits like this before. It was like assault, I didn’t have a spare minute, signs of burnout, even driving a car was too hard, I didn’t want to get up in the morning, “says the trainee teacher about her work under Corona conditions. The basic feeling in the staff is being overwhelmed, especially with all the additional organizational effort.
The school is still in full operation. That is “Scenario A”, which means that the classes are full. Since the incidence rate of 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in one week in the district in which the school is located, the following also applies: All children and teachers must wear a mask at all times.
“But the children still sit close together, 30 of them in the classroom,” says the trainee. “And especially the smaller ones have not got used to the mask requirement so quickly, they come in and take off their things, the mask too. In the break anyway, and there, too, people stand close together. You have to be behind the whole time, ‘Be careful, Covid!’, So you’re constantly tense. ”
Nevertheless, the school has come through the second Corona wave relatively well, says the trainee. Yet. Last week there was the first Corona case in a class since the autumn vacation. As a result, the entire class and several teachers had to be in quarantine for 14 days – these are the regulations in Lower Saxony.
“A sick school child can easily send nine teachers into quarantine,” says the trainee teacher. “If there are two or more classes with corona cases, it will be critical. If there are about 20 teachers missing here, we can probably go to school. ”
Chaos in Berlin too: “The corona cases are increasing day by day and we don’t even have protective equipment”
It is similar in Berlin, reports a young teacher at a Berlin school NewsABC.net.
“Many of my colleagues are overloaded. Last Monday alone, a third of the entire college was sick, ”she says. “The work ethic is falling extremely right now. Nobody recognizes what we’re doing right now. “
The greatest burden is uncertainty. It is never clear how the next day will go: “Will we have enough staff, how many cases do we have and which traffic light will we be classified this time?” The Corona period is also a heavy burden for children: “We ventilate every 20 Minutes. The children are now sitting in the classrooms in jackets. In some classes blankets were even given out. I don’t know how that should work in winter. “
In general, the school is not prepared for a possible second lockdown. “We have set up a school cloud in the meantime, but that is of no use. Not a single one of the laptops we promised for low-income families arrived at our school, ”says the teacher. “Digital teaching is not even possible like this.”
The school management worked out an emergency plan during the autumn holidays in order to be able to react to the worsening of the infection situation. Children should only be at school for three hours a day, classes should be divided. “The health department wanted the plan, but the Senate rejected it. The reason: the full timetable would have to be driven. ”
The Senate is trying desperately to keep the schools in Berlin open, at the same time even teachers who belong to the risk group have to provide themselves with FFP2 masks: “They just don’t take our fear of a complete school closure seriously. We are now making a hazard report for our neighborhood. The corona cases are increasing day by day and we don’t even have protective equipment. That can not be.”
300,000 students and 30,000 teachers in quarantine
What parents and teachers describe to NewsABC.net has long since made itself felt across Germany. The German Teachers Association estimates that 300,000 students are currently in quarantine. At the end of September, the number was 50,000. According to the association, almost 30,000 teachers are also in quarantine. Association chief Heinz-Peter Meidinger speaks of a “salami lockdown”.
This fits in with the fact that the newspapers of the Funke media group report that classroom teaching is no longer fully available at 3,240 schools in 14 federal states. To put it into perspective: In Germany there are a total of around 32,300 general education schools.
On Tuesday, Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek (CDU) commented on the growing corona problem in German schools. She called for a general mask requirement in class, including in elementary schools. That is annoying, “but for me it is the most effective means of enabling lessons,” said Karliczek of the “Rheinische Post”. Regular ventilation also helps, even if it gets cold in the classroom: “In the current situation, the students can be expected to put on a thick sweater.”
The teachers’ experience shows that masks and sweaters alone are not enough.