Hanover (dpa / lni) – At the beginning of the new school year, Lower Saxony’s Minister of Education, Grant Hendrik Tonne (SPD), considers a week of corona tests to be possible. “It is a conceivable model for us to go back in with a test week and then continue on the basis of voluntary tests,” said Tonne of the German Press Agency in Hanover.
“Due to the shorter time for an infection, I think we would no longer spend two weeks, but say a week, then you’ll find out whether you have an infection from the summer holidays or not.”
Before the summer holidays, students should be able to take tests home with them, and corresponding orders would be in progress. In any case, we want to give them something so that they can go to school safely after the holidays – regardless of whether it is mandatory testing or on a voluntary basis. It has not yet been decided what the Corona rules will look like at the beginning of the new school year at the end of August. “We will be prepared for everything,” emphasized Tonne.
There has been no compulsory corona test at the schools in the state for several weeks, as has a mask requirement. After several holidays in this school year, Lower Saxony has meanwhile switched to compulsory daily testing. The number of corona infections has recently also increased significantly in schools.
“Basically, I want as few restrictions and burdens for the students as possible. But we have to know what kind of virus we are dealing with.” The health experts would have to answer whether you then have to react. “I can’t specify a legal framework, but we have to fill it out if necessary. We would be prepared for tests and masks.” He appealed to the federal government to provide a clear legal framework for the new school year.
“According to the current legal basis, I definitely have no chance when it comes to the obligation to wear masks. I don’t even want to talk about the obligation to wear masks, of course I want school without restrictions.” But it is about the possibility of being able to act at all – if necessary – in order to keep the schools open should the Corona situation worsen significantly again.
However, Tonne rejects a permanent increase in the size of the day-care center group. “I give a clear rejection of a permanent change in the group size.” In an emergency, one must be able to act flexibly. But an emergency is not a permanent situation.
Because of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, daycare standards were lowered until the end of July. This means that about one more child can be cared for per daycare group. This should make it easier for children from the Ukraine to be admitted to a day-care center in Lower Saxony.
The minister explained that talks are in progress on how things will continue after July. A decision is expected within the next two weeks. According to the ministry, around 1,350 children from Ukraine were registered in daycare centers in Lower Saxony by the end of the week.
“The debate is very much focused on the so-called plus-one rule. However, we have provided a whole set of tools for the question of how to deal with additional children. For example, we have made the room standards more flexible.”
Tonne emphasized that in addition to integrating in day-care centers, it is also a great effort in schools. “But you can’t do that, we’re currently talking about 15,000 children.” Additional specialists from Ukraine, retired teachers and students have been brought into the schools and this is being done on an ongoing basis.
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