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SCHOOLS

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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COVID-19

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Since the start of Germany’s Oktoberfest, the incidence of Covid infections in Munich has risen sharply. Though a connection with the festival can’t yet be proven, it seems likely.

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Two weeks after the start of Oktoberfest, the Covid numbers in Munich have more than tripled.

On Sunday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported an incidence of 768.7 for the city of Munich, though updated figures for the end of the festival are not expected until later in the week. Usually, on weekends and public holidays, there is a delay in reports.

In the entire state of Bavaria, the incidence value on Sunday was 692.5.

According to Munich’s public health officer, Beatrix Zurek, bed occupancy in Munich hospitals has also increased. Two weeks ago, 200 beds in Munich were occupied by Covid patients, whereas there are now around 350.

Though a relationship between the sharp rise in infections with Oktoberfest, which ended on Monday, can’t be proven at the moment, it seems very likely, according to experts. A significant increase in Covid incidences has also been shown at other public festivals – about one and a half weeks after the start. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s famed Oktoberfest opens after two-year pandemic hiatus

After a two-year break due to the pandemic, around 5.7 million visitors came to this year’s Wiesn according to the festival management – around 600,000 fewer than at the last Oktoberfest before the pandemic in 2019, when there were 6.3 million.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) took to Twitter to comment on the rise in incidence in Munich during the Oktoberfest. “This would not have been necessary if self-tests had been taken before admission,” he said.

“Compared to the price of a measure of beer, €2-3 (for tests) wouldn’t have mattered,” he said.

Even before the start of the Wiesn, he had spoken out in favour of people taking voluntary self-tests. Lauterbach stressed that now is the time for special measures against Covid.

“The development shows what will happen if the states wait too long with the mask obligation in indoor areas,” he added.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s new Covid-19 rules from October

In neighbouring counties, where many Oktoberfest visitors came from, the number of Covid cases has also risen noticeably.  Beatrix Zurek said that it is unclear, however, how much of a role Oktoberfest played in these figures, as people are currently much more active socially overall, with concerts and other events also taking place throughout the state.

Christoph Spinner, an infections specialist at Munich’s Klinikum, has urged people not to be alarmed by the rising numbers.

“We had expected rising incidences here. We knew that there could be a doubling, tripling, even quadrupling,” he said.

He said that this is no cause for concern, as many people have been vaccinated or have also recovered from previous Covid infections, so any new infections are therefore usually mild.

The virologist advises people over 60 or with pre-existing conditions to get a second booster vaccination, but otherwise said people shouldn’t be alarmed by the rising incidences.

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