Are the youngest suffering from omicrons again? A member of the Expert Council sounds the alarm – and makes clear demands. Family Minister Spiegel offers help.
Update from January 24, 7:55 p.m.: Berlin’s governing mayor Franziska Giffey justified the suspension of compulsory attendance at the capital’s schools with a changed situation as a result of the increasing number of corona infections. “The decision we made (…) is based on the statement by the medical officers in the health authorities that they can no longer understand contact tracing in all of the more than 800 schools with over 300,000 students,” said the SPD Politician at the press conference after the Corona summit.
“At this moment, when we have such a situation, with such numbers of cases, it is important for us on the one hand that we keep the school running, that there is still an offer.” At the same time, some parents were worried and would like to decide whether or not to send their child to school. This is now easily possible from Tuesday.
“Nevertheless, it is important for us: The schools remain open, the face-to-face offer is still the standard offer,” says Giffey. However, the suspension of compulsory attendance is a way to meet various needs. This is a reaction to a changed situation. “That is what is expected of us. It has nothing to do with losing control.”
Corona: School alarm for Scholz – member of the expert council concerned about “hundreds of thousands” of children
First report from January 24th: Berlin – Away from the Corona summit on Monday, the schools remain a focal point of the Omicron wave: The Green Family Minister Anne Spiegel now wants to take massive measures to prevent closures. A member of the expert council of Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) warns of impending adversity – and there is also worrying news from the countries in the current Omicron wave.
Corona summit: Green Minister now offers schools help from the federal government
Spiegel offered countries help from the federal government. Almost 8,000 pedagogical specialists from the “Language Daycare Centers” and “Respect Coaches” programs could “help take care of the children in the facilities for six weeks,” she said in an interview with the Funke media group. In this way, there could be more flexibility in the event of staff shortages.
At the same time, Spiegel appealed for schools and kindergartens to be given preferential treatment in the PCR test. Hospitals are part of the critical infrastructure, but in a next step also day care centers and schools, she told the rbb info radio. “In this respect, they should at least not be at the bottom of the list, but should be found higher up, because it is an important system that must not be allowed to collapse.” The draft resolution also deals with the question of PCR testing for the summit.
(Traffic lights ahead of big tasks – you can find out what the SPD, Greens and FDP are planning in our political newsletter.)
Schools in the Corona crisis: Expert Council member worries about “hundreds of thousands of children”
“There are hundreds of thousands of children entering third grade who have not yet had a normal school year. Or not yet a normal day-care center year,” said Reinhard Berner, member of the expert council New Osnabrück newspaper. “Even in the Omicron wave, the well-being of the children must remain in view, there must only be measures such as school or daycare closures as a very last resort, which often cause more damage to the youngest than help them,” said the director of the Dresden children’s clinic further.
Sports and joint cultural and leisure experiences for the youngest should not be prevented again, he added. “In addition to the physical, the mental integrity of the children must also have top priority,” said Berner. Quarantine and subsequent closures are “no longer proportionate. He is also firmly convinced “that the pandemic would receive little attention if only children were affected. The alarm comes from adult danger.”
Quarantine for school children? Expert finds rules wrong – also test regime under criticism
Berner also called for an end to the quarantine for daycare and school children. “The question is: is the quarantine for the children? The answer is: Usually no, not the children themselves.” The quarantine is primarily intended to protect adults. Daily testing is also no longer necessary. “When the quarantine is lifted, children should be tested three times a week. Every other day, that would be reasonable and sufficiently safe from my point of view,” the expert told the newspaper.
There are apparently already problems regionally: According to the Education and Science Union (GEW), the Corona situation is getting worse at the Hessian schools. In many regions there is hardly a class that is not affected, GEW state chairman Thilo Hartmann told dpa on Monday. In an interview with Merkur.de Recently, Ethics Council member Julian Nida-Rümelin also criticized failures in dealing with children in the pandemic.
Facts are already being created in the capital: In view of the increasing number of corona infections due to the Omicron variant, compulsory attendance at Berlin schools has been suspended for the time being. From Tuesday, parents can decide for themselves whether their child goes to school or works and learns at home on tasks and projects, as Senator for Education Astrid-Sabine Busse (SPD) announced on Monday. This initially applies until the end of February. (dpa / fn)