568 positive PCR tests in Upper Austria’s schools

According to reports from the federal states to the Ministry of Education, 2,600 classes and nine schools in Austria are currently switched to distance learning due to corona. For classification: There are almost 6,000 schools with around 58,000 classes in Austria, so around 95 percent of the classes continue to have face-to-face classes. On Tuesday, the federal states had registered 1,900 closed classes, but according to the ministry, the numbers are currently only “snapshots”.

The reason is the shorter incubation period of the omicron variant and the relatively short duration of the class closures at five days. While new closed classes are constantly being added, classes are constantly returning to classroom teaching. Currently, in one case, face-to-face teaching continues in one class, but the remaining children then have to be tested daily for five days. If another corona case occurs in this class within three days, distance learning will be used.

568 tests struck yesterday in Upper Austria

Safety measures have been in place in the schools since the start of school, which were tightened again in November: students and teachers have to wear masks all the time, tests are carried out three times a week, at least once with the more meaningful PCR tests.

Due to the technical problems of the new test provider outside of Vienna, the PCR tests are currently being carried out in stages. In the Wednesday test round, 568 tests were carried out in Upper Austria and 72 were positive in Burgenland. There were 441 cases in the Tuesday test in Lower Austria, 247 cases were discovered in Salzburg on Monday and 603 in Styria.

Figures from Vienna provide an insight into what the kindergartens are like. Eleven percent of the kindergarten groups in the municipal facilities there are currently closed due to corona infections. At the Kinderfreunde, around seven percent of the 600 groups are closed due to corona, plus four small locations with only two groups. In the case of “Children in Vienna – KIWI”, the APA only mentions individual closed groups. For comparison: According to the city, 17 percent of the classes in elementary schools are currently closed.

At the City of Vienna, 410 of the approximately 8,800 employees from the kindergarten area (including administration), i.e. almost five percent, have currently tested positive. According to the Educational Director Alexandra Fischer, at the Kinderfreunde there are currently eight percent of the teachers in quarantine, two percent are not on duty because their own children are in quarantine and another two percent are sick due to other illnesses.

At KIWI it is not possible to give an exact number, but according to the management there are more people on sick leave than before the pandemic. However, precautions have been taken and the losses can be compensated for by overtime, extra hours and the use of released managers. In any case, no groups are currently closed due to a lack of staff.

How often the Kinderfreunde currently have to use the option recently created due to the high number of infections in the Omicron wave, to hand over the care to people without the appropriate training (e.g. assistants) due to a lack of trained specialists, varies “half a day”. “We try to use familiar people for the families and the children,” emphasizes Fischer. It sounds similar at KIWI: If, in rare cases, no specialist staff is available, after careful consideration, “long-standing and experienced caregivers could step in to bridge the gap”.


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