Schools – Faßmann reassures directors who complain about “chaos”

“Responsibility is always passed on when you don’t know what to do next.” The director of a Viennese elementary school spoke early on Tuesday in an interview with the “Wiener Zeitung” newspaper, expressing her displeasure with Minister of Education Heinz Faßmann. Specifically, this referred to the recommendation that schools should decide on outdoor music lessons in the middle of November. The actual trigger, however, was that the Ministry of Education had only announced stricter corona rules for elementary and middle schools on Sunday evening and initially only in the form of an information letter, including the cancellation of school events.

Minister Faßmann tried to calm down angry school principals on Tuesday. The relevant Corona decree went out Tuesday lunchtime, the “Wiener Zeitung” was told in his office upon request. In the course of the day, the still missing regulation will follow, it was assured. In principle, this must also be coordinated with the green coalition partner, specifically with Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein.

SPÖ education spokeswoman Petra Vorderwinkler expressed incomprehension about the sluggish approach. The minister had the task of not transferring the chronic government failure back to the schools, which would be “left completely alone again,” she criticized.

Parents are displeased

Initially, in the previous week, stricter measures and the FFP2 mask requirement in upper grades were also issued in the classroom for schools in the federal states of Lower and Upper Austria and Tyrol because of the high number of new corona infections there. After the corona summit of the turquoise-green federal government with the state governors on Sunday afternoon, there was mail for directors from elementary school in the evening around 9 p.m. Among other things, school events were banned as well as visits to schools by people who were not in school.

The headmasters then sometimes felt the displeasure of parents about the short-term changes. In Vienna and Lower Austria there was no school on Monday because of Leopoldi Day. The instructions of the education department had to be implemented there on Tuesday. “It’s annoying,” complained a headmistress, that was “pure chaos,” she said in view of the short-term information from those responsible for education.

In addition, only a few weeks ago it was agreed between Faßmann and teacher union Paul Kimberger, a Christian unionist, that new instructions should be avoided as quickly as possible over the weekend. This was a consequence after directors had massively complained that they had learned many of the Ministry’s corona measures since March 2020 first from the media or only over the weekend and then had to implement them by the start of lessons on Monday morning and assign the teachers accordingly.

Red teacher representatives: approach “unprofessional

The chairman of the social democratic group of compulsory school teachers, Thomas Bulant, criticized the education minister appointed by the ÖVP in a broadcast on Tuesday morning. It is “unbelievable how resistant to learning” Faßmann and the Secretary General of the Ministry of Education, Gerald Netzer, are. Once again, a corona measure was announced via the media and this was subsequently communicated to the education directorates of the federal states and the school management via email without the constitutionally required ordinance, circular or decree having been drawn up in good time, complained Bulant.

Staff representatives would now report that school principals and class boards were being verbally abused for the “unprofessional circumstances”. Trust in the leadership of the Ministry of Education has reached a low point.

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