State by state: When are schools and Kitas around Germany reopening?

It's a moment many parents around Germany have been waiting for. All schools and Kitas (day-care centres) around Germany are reopening, albeit with restrictions.

State by state: When are schools and Kitas around Germany reopening?
A sign reading 'We miss you, dear children' hangs in front of a Kita in Stuttgart on May 18th. Photo: DPA

Some schools and Kitas will have next to no restrictions, while others will operate on a rotating schedule or with limited hours.

We give an overview of when openings have been announced in each of Germany's 16 states.

Baden-Württemberg: In mid-June, all pupils are to receive lessons in the classroom again, at least temporarily. The Kita centres are to reopen completely by the end of June at the latest. 

So far, a maximum of 50 percent of the children who normally attend the school may be looked after there at the same time.

Bavaria: According to the state's ministry of education, about half of all age groups are currently back in school. Only after the Pentecost holidays in mid-June are all pupils to go to school on a weekly basis. By July 1st, all children should also be allowed to return to Kitas and crèches.

Berlin: By the summer, every Kita-aged child will receive a new childcare offer. By the end of May, all pupils are able to go to school but with a reduced number of hours in the classroom.

A video produced by 'Musical Friends' instructs kids in Berlin on how to follow hygienic measures in the classroom.

READ ALSO: When (and how) will Germany's daycare centres reopen?

Brandenburg: Before the summer holidays, all pupils will be allowed to attend school and participate in classes, at least on a rotating schedule by the day or week. A limited regular operation is to be introduced for Kitas.

Bremen: All school classes will be gradually brought back. From June 1st, all pre-school children are to return to Kitas.

Hamburg: All pupils are to receive school lessons at least once a week. Kitas will gradually return to regular operation.

Hesse: Kitas are to return to restricted normal operation on June 2nd. Teaching at the schools has gradually resumed.

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: Pupils are already returning to schools step by step. Kitas are once again open to all children.

Lower Saxony: Emergency care in Kitas is being expanded step by step. From mid-June onwards, all children will be offered a time window during which they can attend the Kita.

Pupils will also return gradually, and from June 15th onwards, all classes will again have lessons in the schools.

North Rhine-Westphalia: Kita children and pupils will return gradually. From the end of May onwards, all pupils will receive daily lessons, and from June 8th onwards there will be “restricted regular operation” for all day-care centre children.

Two children playing at a Kita in Dresden on May 18th. Photo: DPA

Rhineland-Palatinate: Classes have gradually resumed, and all pupils should return to school at least temporarily by mid-June. The Kitas are to open for everyone from June 2nd, albeit with hygiene restrictions.

Saarland: In the course of June, all students should return to school at least temporarily. Daycare centres are to resume limited regular operations from June 8th. 

Saxony: Saxony's Kitas and primary schools can open for all children in restricted regular operation. Pupils at secondary schools are to be taught at least partially at the schools again.

READ ALSO: 'Corona-Holidays': Is closing German schools over virus fears the right call?

Saxony-Anhalt: From June 2nd, day-care centres and schools are to return to regular operation. By June 15th, all primary school children are set to return to school daily.

Schleswig-Holstein: For some school levels, classes have already started again. From June 8th, onwards, all primary school children will again receive daily classes.

Regular operations at all schools are to start again after the summer holidays with the new school year on August 10th. From June 1st onwards, the day-care centres will operate on a restricted basis.

Thuringia: Municipalities can decide for themselves whether to offer limited regular operation in Kitas, starting by June 15th at the latest. In the schools, all pupils should be able to participate in regular classes after Tuesday June 2nd.


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Pandemic in Germany unlikely to end this year, says top virologist

High profile German virologist Christian Drosten believes Germany will see a severe spike in Covid infections after summer, and that the pandemic will not become endemic this year.

Pandemic in Germany unlikely to end this year, says top virologist

Drosten previously said that Germany would probably be able to declare the end of the pandemic this year.

But in an interview with Spiegel, Drosten said he had reevaluated his opinion. 

“When the Alpha variant came, it was very surprising for me. When Delta appeared I was sceptical at first, then with Omicron we had to reorient ourselves again. And since January there have already been new Omicron subtypes.

“So I would actually like to correct myself: I no longer believe that by the end of the year we will have the impression that the pandemic is over.”

READ ALSO: End is in sight for pandemic in Germany, says virologist 

Drosten also said that Germany will not see a largely Covid-free summer, which has been the case in previous years, and a further increase in infections in autumn. 

“We are actually already seeing an exponential increase in case numbers again,” Drosten said.

“The BA.5 variant (of Omicron) is simply very transmissible, and people are losing their transmission protection from the last vaccination at the same time.”

In other countries, he said, when the number of cases become high, hospitalisation and death rates also rise again. “Unfortunately, that will also be the case here,” said Drosten, but added: “Overall, however, far fewer people will become seriously ill and die than in 2021.”

Drosten said he expected many more infections from September.

“I hope that the school holidays will dampen the increase in cases somewhat. But from September, I fear we will have very high case numbers,” the head of the virology department at Berlin’s Charité hospital told Spiegel.

READ ALSO: German Health Minister lays out autumn Covid plan

Virologist Christian Drosten at a Covid press conference in 2021.

Virologist Christian Drosten at a Covid press conference in 2021. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Kay Nietfeld

If the government does not take any action, he predicted there would be a lot of sick leave across all industries. “That will become a real problem,” he said.

Drosten said he did not expect overcrowded intensive care units in Germany.

But the new BA.5 sub-variant, which is becoming dominant in Germany, may affect people more strongly. 

“The wheel is turning more towards disease again,” said Drosten. It is not true that a virus automatically becomes more and more harmless in the course of evolution. “That makes me even more worried about the autumn,” he said.

Drosten recommends wearing masks indoors during the colder months, saying it is “the least painful” measure.

If, in addition, “up to 40 million people could be immunised or given a booster vaccination” before winter, for example by urgently calling for company vaccinations, that would “really make a difference”, Drosten said.

In the long term, he said it’s inevitable that people will become infected with coronavirus.

He said the population immunity due to vaccinations and infections will at some point be so strong that the virus will become less important. “Then we will be in an endemic state,” said Drosten. In the worst case, however, this could take “several more winters”.

However, Drosten warned against people trying to deliberately infect themselves with Covid, saying getting the infection in summer doesn’t mean people will be protected in winter. 

Drosten himself said he has not yet contracted Covid-19.

“So far, I guess I’ve just been lucky,” he said. “I rarely put myself in risky situations, but I’m not overly cautious either.”

‘Pandemic depends on behaviour’

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI)’s latest weekly report, more outbreaks are occurring in care homes, and the number of patients in intensive care units is slightly rising as infections go up. 

The institute said there had been a 23 percent increase in the 7-day incidence compared to the previous week. On Friday the 7-day incidence stood at 618.2 infections per 100,000 people. There were 108,190 infections within the latest 24 hour period and 90 deaths. 

“The further course of the pandemic depends not only on the occurrence of new virus variants and the uptake of vaccinations on offer, it also depends to a large extent on the behaviour of the population,” said the RKI.

According to the DIVI intensive care register, the number of Covid-19 patients in ICUs had increased to 810 on Thursday this week, from about 600 at the beginning of the month.

However, that number is still low compared to previous Covid peaks when thousands of people were in intensive care in Germany.