All pupils in Germany ‘should return to school before summer holidays’

All pupils in Germany 'should return to school before summer holidays'
Older pupils returned to school in many parts of Germany on April 27th. This is a classroom in Rostock. Photo: DPA
All students should return to their classrooms before the summer holidays, education ministers across Germany say.

The coronavirius crisis is continuing in Germany, but that doesn't mean children should not be able to get back to school at least for a short time before the summer holidays begin.

That's what the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK) will advise Germany's 16 state premiers and Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of their meeting on Thursday.

State ministers have been putting together a “conceptual framework” on how to resume teaching in schools as quickly and safely as possible in Germany.

According to the draft plan viewed by DPA, each state will decide for itself on the exact implementation and dates for the start of schooling.

“Every pupil should be able to attend school on a daily or weekly basis up until the beginning of the summer holidays,” the ministers write in the draft.

But they said things will not go back to normal. “As things stand at present, it will no longer be possible to operate schools on an unrestricted regular basis before the summer holidays due to the distance requirement,” they said.

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Across Germany, the first pupils returned to the classroom in about half of all the country’s 16 states on Monday April 20th, for final exams or exam preparation.

This week high school and vocational school students in graduating classes have been returning to the classroom in almost all states, while older primary school children were to return to school from May 4th.

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How can Germany get all kids back to school safely?

We'll know more about the plans later in the week following the meeting between the state leaders and Merkel. But here are some interesting key points mentioned in the draft plan:

– Pupils should be divided into learning groups with lessons taking place at different times and in different locations. Distance at all times must be maintained. Times for the start of school and breaks are to be staggered as much as possible in a bid to avoid contact.

– All final exams should take place in this school year as long as infection protection is ensured.

– Every school needs a hygiene plan. This plan must include regular hand washing, a distance of at least 1.5 metres to fellow pupils and teachers and observance of the rules for coughing and sneezing.

– Toilets and other busy areas should be carefully cleaned.

– Students with pre-existing conditions that make them particularly at risk of contracting a serious form of Covid-19 disease should not be forced to come to school, and instead should be allowed to study at home. The same applies to teachers who belong to at-risk groups.

– School bus timetables should be adapted to the staggered start of lessons. Those who can, should come on foot or by bike.

– There are no plans to make face masks compulsory in classrooms throughout Germany. However, if it is more difficult for some pupils to keep the minimum distance, face masks are to be used.

Vocabulary

Summer holidays – (die) Sommerferien

Framework concept/conceptual framework – (das) Rahmenkonzept

Implementation – (die) Umsetzung

Regular hand washing – regelmäßiges Händewaschen

We're aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.
 


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