German parents’ associations protest against dangerous school openings

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By Gregor Link

Twenty of the largest parents’ associations in Germany have written a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel (Christian Democratic Union, CDU) and other leading politicians to express their “serious reservations about current decisions” regarding the resumption of in-person teaching in schools.

They write that the current situation endangers “our children and thus the entire population” and is “irresponsible.” They go on, “The hygiene measures developed by the federal states for school openings are—as the past few weeks have shown—insufficient to ensure protection for the school community against infection.”

The letter is an expression of the growing anger and indignation among parents, teachers and students—not only in Germany, but throughout Europe. More and more workers and young people oppose the policy of herd immunity decreed by ruling circles, a policy that will result in the death of hundreds of thousands of people. Media outlets have remained conspicuously and ominously silent. With the exception of the teachers internet portal news4teachers, not a single major German publication has reported on the letter drafted by parents’ representatives.

The letter begins with an analysis of the actual situation. “The number of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 [COVID-19] in Germany is increasing dramatically. This affects our schools in particular. Many thousands of students have been infected with SARs-CoV-2, as have a large number of teachers and other educational specialists and other school staff. We currently expect at least 50,000 students and an additional large number of teachers to be in quarantine.”

The parents’ associations criticise the indifference of school and health authorities and write that it is increasingly apparent “that respective school classes or year-groups are not being completely quarantined, but often only those pupils close to the infected person.” The letter continues: “The ministries have failed, however, to trace the routes of infection on the basis of scientific sequence analyses. Symptom-free infections cannot be tracked or detected because entire groups are, in many cases, not tested.”

At a state level, the parents’ associations complain that various similar appeals have fallen on deaf ears and have failed to elicit any “recognisable reaction.” Particularly serious is “the education ministers’ persistent ignoring of findings, such as those of Prof. Dr. Christian Drosten, on the infection and illness of children, adolescents and young adults with SARS-CoV-2.”

Against this background, the prospect of infection in schools assumes dangerous proportions: “It must be possible to apply the AHA rules [ Abstand, Hygiene, Atemschutz = distance, hygiene, respiratory protection] consistently in schools, especially with regard to those in particular need of protection.”

Among other measures, the parents’ associations call for a “state-specific binding, step-by-step plan” for hygiene measures, an “extension of the policy of the compulsory wearing of masks,” a “reduction in the size of learning groups,” and the “possibility of hybrid instruction in shifts” with “the greatest possible digital support” while “taking the needs of minorities into account.”

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