Face masks mandatory once again in Berlin elementary schools
After it was lifted only in the week before the autumn vacations, the obligation to wear face masks for first- to sixth-graders in Berlin schools now applies again.
Information concerning Coronavirus vaccination.
In view of the rising number of Coronavirus infections, Education Senator Sandra Scheeres (SPD) decided on a U-turn concerning the abolition of mandatory face masks in elementary schools. The decision was made after a meeting of the Hygiene Advisory Board on Monday afternoon (08 November 2021) and announced by the education administration. For high schoolers in grade seven and up, the mask requirement continued to apply anyway. Before the last school holidays, there were considerations to lift the face mask obligation in high schools as well, but these considerations are abandoned now.
Three weekly Coronavirus tests in schools
There will also continue to be three Coronavirus tests per week for school students for the time being. Both measures will be implemented during the week, education administrators said. Originally, three weekly tests were only planned for the first two weeks after the fall vacations to increase the chance of detecting Coronavirus cases contracted while traveling. After those two weeks, the number was to return to two tests per week. There had already been repeated criticism of this envisaged regulation.
Before the fall school holidays, Scheeres had expressly advocated for the controversial abolition of mandatory face masks in elementary schools. She cited the challenges it presented for younger children, for example, in learning to read. Commenting on her reassessment after the Hygiene Advisory Board meeting, she said: "I didn't make this decision lightly, because I know how much wearing masks can stress children."
State Parents Committee chairman welcomes mask requirement
State Parents Committee chairman Norman Heise stated that the decision to return to mandatory face masks was understandable given the concerning infection numbers, but unfortunate for students nonetheless: "Once again, they are the only group that has to deal with more extensive safety measures because others don't comply or choose not to get vaccinated."
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Preventing new school closures
Reinhard Bartezky of the Professional Association of Pediatricians and Adolescent Doctors added that a higher vaccination rate was important in order to prevent school closures once again. "In no other area of public life are people tested for Coronavirus as extensively as in schools. As a result, positive Covid-19 cases here are detected much earlier and more frequently," Bartezky said. "All of this is done to keep schools open because children and young people have suffered in a very special way from school closures."
Last edited: Tuesday, 9. November 2021 10:55 Uhr