“Irresponsible”: teachers’ associations criticize the end of the compulsory mask in schools

BERLIN. With the entry into force of the new Corona rules, face masks are no longer mandatory in most schools. In Berlin it was already time for Friday. Education unions criticize the move as too early.

Teachers criticize the omission of masks in schools. Photo: Shutterstock

The educational unions and the German Teachers’ Association have harshly criticized the end of the mask requirement in most German schools. The president of the Teachers’ Association Heinz-Peter Meidinger called the step on Friday “completely premature”. “With incidence rates in schools still extremely high, the end of the mask requirement means an end to the simplest health protection for employees, children and young people and their parents,” said Maike Finnern, president of the Education and Science Union (GEW).

The president of the Association for Education and Training (VBE), Udo Beckmann, said that, against the background of the continuing high rate of infection among children and young people, it is “irresponsible” that the mask requirement in schools has been abandoned. “With the current staff shortage, we cannot afford to forgo such effective infection control measures.”

“There will inevitably be more failures and student participation in classes will be jeopardized”

Over the past two years, federal states have repeatedly ordered the use of masks in their schools, sometimes more strictly with a mask in place, sometimes less stringent. With the Traffic Light Coalition’s amendment to the Infection Protection Act, face masks may no longer be prescribed in schools this weekend, unless a federal state declares a region a so-called hotspot, which would still be possible there. . Only Hamburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania use this option. In Berlin, the compulsory school mask has already been eliminated this Friday. There will still be tests in many schools for some time.

GEW boss Finnern fears even more contagion, further class cancellations and growing learning deficits due to the end of the mask requirement. “It’s irresponsible. Schools are left alone by politics,” he said. Hours should already be reduced and learning groups should be merged, VBE president Beckmann said. “There will inevitably be more bankruptcies and student participation in lessons will be endangered. “

The president of the Meidinger Teachers’ Association also referred to parents of previously ill children and families with people at risk in the family. They were “rightly concerned that schools were now finally being released for contamination.”

Crown numbers in schools have recently remained at a high level. In the past week, about 347,000 cases of infection and quarantine among schoolchildren have been reported by federal states, the Conference of Education Ministers (KMK) announced Friday (348,000 the previous week). With 36,400 crown and quarantine cases, a new high was reported among teachers (the previous week 35,700). In total, there are around 11 million students and nearly 900,000 teachers in around 40,000 vocational schools and colleges in Germany.

“I myself will still wear a mask in many places where masks are no longer mandatory”

According to their own statements, the educational associations wished to wait until Easter to relax. The holidays are in two weeks. Bremen, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein are the first federal states to enter the Easter holidays this weekend. Most other countries will follow a week later.

The FDP, which had played a key role in the traffic light coalition for the expiration of most of the Corona rules, appealed to personal responsibility. “I myself will still wear a mask in many places where masks are no longer mandatory. Parents can talk to their children and decide with them if they still have to wear the mask at school, ”FDP-designate general secretary Bijan Djir-Sarai told the editorial network Germany (RND). News4teachers / with material from the dpa

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