School will start again in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in a few days. The sword of Damocles of the corona pandemic is also hanging over the new school year. Initially, nothing should change in the protective measures.
Schwerin (dpa/mv) - Minister of Education Simone Oldenburg (left) wants to start the new school year with the corona protection measures that were in place before the summer holidays. "The three-phase model, with which the schools can secure school operations, taking into account the local staffing conditions, has proven its worth. We will therefore continue it in the new school year," announced Oldenburg in Schwerin. The schools would be informed again about the detailed regulations before the start of school on August 15th.
According to the minister, schoolchildren will be given self-tests to take home for the first two weeks. These tests should be used if there are indications of a possible corona infection. "This corresponds to our previous test strategy. The self-tests for this are available in the schools. Our goal remains to detect infections as early as possible and to prevent the further spread of the corona virus," emphasized Oldenburg.
Should the infection process continue to spread in the coming months, the measures would be adjusted together with the Education Council. Experts expect the number of infections to rise again in autumn. The declared goal of politics is to avoid school closures like at the beginning of the pandemic. The federal government's draft for the Infection Protection Act no longer provides for blanket closures of schools.
In view of the growing number of infections at the beginning of this year, the Ministry of Education and the associations and unions assembled in the Education Council agreed on a three-phase model. This enables continuous school operations even under the conditions of the corona pandemic. Depending on the availability of the teaching staff, the school management decides after which phase lessons are given.
In phase 1, school operations will run entirely in attendance at the schools. In phase 2, face-to-face classes for grades 1 to 6 will continue. Pupils in higher classes switch between attendance and independent homeschooling on a daily or weekly basis. For final classes, however, regular face-to-face classes apply. In level 3, too, pupils in classes 1 to 6 should generally receive face-to-face lessons. In the event of an acute shortage of staff, emergency care is also possible. Distance learning takes place from grade 7 onwards.
"As things stand at present, the guiding principle applies to us: 'Unchanged rules with unchanged infection situation'," said Oldenburg, referring to the current school corona ordinance. This does not prescribe a mask requirement in everyday school life. However, people who have been in close contact with an infected person are still recommended to wear mouth and nose protection voluntarily. The reintroduction of the highly controversial mask requirement in the classroom is considered extremely unlikely.