It is about how schools and infection protection can be reconciled in regions with a particularly high number of corona cases. Tonne said at a press conference that the existing measures are being supplemented to increase protection against infection.
Hotspots: Mask compulsory for primary school students too
Stricter measures apply to schools in a district where the seven-day incidence exceeds 200 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. From the 7th year onwards, the classes in the affected hotspots should automatically switch to the alternating model (scenario B) – that is, teaching in divided classes alternately at home and at school. In addition, a mask requirement in class for elementary school students and in after-school care centers should then also apply. The measures should be maintained until the affected district falls below an incidence value of 200 for three days in a row – and no new corona infections occur at the respective school, Tonne said. The country will issue a regulation for the new regulation. According to the Ministry of Culture, it should apply from December 1st.
Three counties are currently affected
According to the minister, the districts of Cloppenburg, Osnabrück and Vechta currently exceed the incidence value of 200. In view of the persistently high corona figures, the district of Cloppenburg had previously announced that the students would continue to be taught in scenario B until the Christmas holidays. The seven-day incidence value was last there at more than 270.
Ton: Land submitted
With reference to the results of the At the federal-state summit Tonne said that Lower Saxony had no major need for improvement in terms of schools. The country has already presented well with its strategy. Tonne referred to the mask requirement in secondary schools from the beginning of November with an incidence value of 50 and the three created in the summer Scenarios for school operations (scenario A: restricted regular operation; scenario B: school in a changeover model and scenario C: distance teaching).
Schools don’t switch to a change model without a need
At the same time, the SPD politician emphasized that the model of alternating lessons that many demanded had disadvantages. He is therefore against sending schools to scenario B without need, said Tonne. The state student council and the philologists’ association had spoken out in favor of this. Tonne said that face-to-face teaching is currently unrestricted at 2,430 schools. At 570 schools there are either alternating lessons or classes or learning groups are affected by quarantine measures. A week ago there were 675 schools. More than 80 percent of the schools in the country are not affected. This is “a good signal,” said Tonne.
GEW calls for “investment offensive”
The Education and Science Union (GEW) welcomed the easier change to scenario B. What is needed is more than short-term crisis management, namely the elimination of staff shortages and deficits in security and equipment in schools. There must finally be a permanent investment offensive in schools, demanded the GEW state chairwoman Laura Pooth. The Association for Education and Upbringing (VBE) emphasized that the rules for switching to alternating lessons also put an end to the crush on buses and trains when transporting students. The expansion of rapid tests in schools is to be welcomed, but it is not understandable why the increased health protection does not apply to teachers.
CDU would have preferred an incidence value lower than 200
The protection of teachers and employees is neglected in the eyes of the CDU parliamentary group: “We could therefore have imagined a lower incidence value than 200 for the switch to scenario B,” it said there. Nevertheless, the Christian Democrats consider the Minister’s strategy to be a “step in the right direction”. It gives the schools and parents a certain degree of planning security, at least until the end of the winter holidays. “We particularly welcome the fact that our proposal for a pre-Christmas quarantine is being implemented. This gives families the opportunity to celebrate Christmas together.”
The Green parliamentary group leader Julia Willie Hamburg complained that the respective school scenario still depends on the completely overloaded health authorities. Schools should finally be able to decide for themselves.
Mask requirement in class now possible nationwide
At the federal-state summit on Wednesday, the Prime Minister and Chancellor Merkel had one another Agreement to extend the so-called partial lockdown until December 20. Among other things, they decided that there should be a mask requirement in school lessons. This should take effect from the 7th grade when the seven-day incidence rises above 50. Lower Saxony had already introduced this measure at the beginning of November – it applies in risk areas from the 5th grade. In the case of corona cases in schools, according to the decision, the future procedure should be uniform: Infected and all classmates should be immediately quarantined for five days. A quick test is then planned. If it is negative, the students can go back to school. The quarantine obligation should not apply to teachers.
Earlier Christmas holidays
The federal and state governments also agreed to bring the Christmas holidays forward – they will now start on December 19. In Lower Saxony, Tuesday, December 22nd, was originally supposed to be the last day of school this year. Education Minister Tonne had previously spoken out against bringing the Christmas holidays forward, but changed this position in view of the new framework conditions.