The German subsidiaries of Education International supported the decision of the federal and state governments to extend the COVID-19 lockdown. Schools and day-care centers will remain closed until January 31, with a few exceptions.
On January 5, Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Prime Ministers of the federal states agreed on the lockdown as the corona virus rages across the country. This situation will be reviewed on January 25th before a decision is made whether to extend the lockdown to February.
Most school children in Germany and many daycare children (preschool children) stay at home for the next three weeks. Schools and daycare centers will be closed at least until the end of January or limited to emergency services.
The federal states themselves regulate the processes in schools and day-care centers. For example, daycare centers were not closed everywhere during the previous lockdown. Instead, parents were asked not to take their children to the centers. The education ministers in the federal states had already agreed on January 4th that if elementary school students returned to face-to-face classes, they would return first, followed by classes for older students.
The vacation days for caring for a child are doubled
As a result of the blocking extension, which led to problems with childcare for many parents, the federal and state governments have agreed to double the number of vacation days that parents can take this year to care for a child from 10 to 20. Single parents may need 40 days instead of the usual 20 days to care for their sick children.
The regulation is expressly intended to cover not only a situation in which children get sick, but also in which children have to be looked after at home because the school or daycare center is closed or has limited business opportunities.
GEW: Stand up for hybrid training after the lockdown
"The Education and Science Union (GEW) supports the decision to extend the closure for schools and day care centers until January 31," said Marlis Tepe, President of GEW and Vice President of Education International. She reported that “COVID-19 Germany is still under control. Daycare centers and schools continue to face enormous challenges. "
GEW advocates blended learning as soon as the ban ends. "It would have been better if the education ministries in the federal states had used the Christmas holidays to do their homework: namely to create the conditions for appropriate hybrid, face-to-face and distance learning," stressed Tepe.
“This is the only way to effectively protect the health of teachers, learners and their parents. This also applies to primary schools, which are not spared from the coronavirus. The fact remains: the right to education and health protection must be united under one roof. "
VBE: Cohesion is crucial
The state chairman of the Association of Education and Upbringing (VBE) in North Rhine-Westphalia, Stefan Behlau, said: “It is a difficult decision that demands a lot from all of us. Parents have to leave their child at home and look after them. School-age children have to study under difficult conditions. "
He said teachers, education support staff and school principals would facilitate education despite the required distance and provide care and support when needed. "What our colleagues achieve despite difficult conditions deserves respect and recognition," he emphasized.
“These tough measures are a huge burden, especially in the school environment, but they have to be suffered if we are to achieve the goal of returning to a more continuous school life. Everyone's health comes first. Everyone has a responsibility. Strong cohesion is now crucial. "
He also said that parents in his country are obliged to keep their child at home, which is "a strong contributor to health protection."
“The goal must be that normal life in the day-care center can be resumed soon. We must all take responsibility for this. When you work with young children, keeping your distance doesn't work, ”he concluded.