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First Berlin schools close following coronavirus cases

The Local Germany
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First Berlin schools close following coronavirus cases
Students returned to school in Berlin on Monday. Photo: DPA

Shortly after the start of the new academic year in Berlin on Monday, the first coronavirus cases have been reported in a number of schools, causing closures.

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The cases were reported at schools across Berlin, including facilities in the districts of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Reinickendorf and Treptow-Köpenick.

They resulted in partial or temporary secondary school closures at at least seven facilities in the German capital. Below is an overview of who has been affected.

READ ALSO: More schools in Germany reopen to pupils - but with strict social distancing rules

A teacher of the Gerhart-Hauptmann-Gymnasium in Friedrichshagen (Treptow-Köpenick) tested positive for Sars-CoV-2, the district announced on Thursday.

It resulted in a "precautionary, probably one-day closure of this one school," the Senate Department for Education announced on Thursday. The move caused the school's 800 pupils to be sent home.

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At the Heinz-Berggruen-Gymnasium in Charlottenburg, one student tested positive for the virus, headmaster Dirk Qwee confirmed to the Berliner Morgenpost on Wednesday. 

"The affected child's class and all teachers who had contact with him were sent home immediately," Qwee said. The rest of the school has resumed regular operation.

On Monday, a secondary school pupil at the Anna Essinger Community School in Lichterfelde complained about symptoms such as loss of the sense of smell shortly after entering the facility.

The pupil was sent home immediately, and a subsequent coronavirus test showed that he had been infected with the virus. 

The pupil only had brief contact with his mixed-age study group and three teachers, who are now in quarantine for 14 days.

"The special attentiveness of the teachers, who immediately called in the public health department, was very helpful," said Martin Klesmann, spokesman for the education administration.

Students at the Evangelische Gymnasium in Schmargendorf were also sent home on Wednesday after a teacher tested positive for the virus. They are all awaiting coronavirus tests later on Thursday.

Individual coronavirus cases have also been detected at secondary schools in Reinickendorf.

Differing requirements

Classes in Berlin and its neighbouring state of Brandenburg started on Monday - without social distancing requirements, but with compulsory masks in school buildings except for during lessons.

The education union GEW, among others, said that the opening plan was "negligent" and demanded smaller learning groups, as well as a mixture of classroom instruction and distance learning. 

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Yet others, particularly in the business community, called for a start of school with face-to-face teaching for all pupils despite the pandemic.

The first schools in Germany in the states of Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania and Schleswig-Holstein opened their doors on Monday, August 3rd.

Yet a few were forced to temporary close shortly afterwards following confirmed coronavirus cases of either teachers or pupils.

READ ALSO: Germany closes two schools in new coronavirus setback

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