Berlin teachers reject school plans

style="float: right; margin-bottom: 10px; font-weight: 600;"Tue 16th Mar, 2021

Rising incidence figures nationwide and the parallel planned return to face-to-face teaching are causing considerable unrest among school employees in Berlin. Surveys by at least two district committees of pedagogical staff showed on Monday that more than 80 percent of teachers and educators rejected face-to-face teaching as long as vaccinations could not be offered to all.

This was reported to the Tagesspiegel by a member of the district committee of educational personnel in Tempelhof-Schöneberg. The results in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg were similar, he said. A spokesman for the Education and Science Union (GEW) confirmed upon request that there were "great concerns." The stop of the Astrazeneca vaccinations had exacerbated the concerns.

The concerns are directed at two dates in particular: First, the Senate has decided that grades ten through 13 will begin alternate instruction starting March 17. On the other hand, Senator of Education Sandra Scheeres (SPD) has proposed that from March 22, seventh to ninth graders should be offered face-to-face classes. Scheeres plans to introduce this proposal to the Senate today, Tuesday.

The senator had explained last week that it should be "first and foremost about social contacts," "about meeting the teacher again and talking about how you're doing, what's coming up after the Easter vacations." How often this happens before Easter, the school itself can determine, but at least once.

Several employees, but also parents, then spoke of foreseeable "Corona parties" at the schools, especially since hardly all pupils:inside will be supplied with self-tests by the dates mentioned: The tests were promised only for the eleventh to 13th graders as of now.

For tenth-graders, the Senate had initially indicated that they could not expect self-tests until March 24. Then, in the face of rising anxiety among employees, a spokesman for the Education Department said Monday that tenth-graders "will be on it as soon as possible."

"Subject to infection events"
At the end of the week, there will probably be another large delivery of rapid tests to the schools.

It is unclear how high the infection figures are among pupils and employees. The figures are currently being processed, said Martin Klesmann, spokesman for the administration. In the nearly 18,000 rapid tests of school staff over the past week, "only twelve people tested positive." PCR tests are still pending, he said. All opening scenarios were "of course, as always emphasized, subject to the infection event."

Now educators should be vaccinated with Astrazeneca
So far, the opening plans are not expected to be rejected by the coalition partners in the Senate on Tuesday. The Greens had already signaled approval. For the Left Party, education expert Regina Kittler said they could "go along" with the opening, since schools could decide autonomously on the scope for seventh- to ninth-graders.

An outdoor reunion is also possible, he said. However, all students must have self-tests available beforehand, Kittler said. The MP described the problems with Astrazeneca as a "catastrophe" in view of the fact that the vaccinations of educators and teachers with the vaccine had just expired.

Photo by Ivan Aleksic


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