How do you teach unions

Corona in Baden-Württemberg Union and country argue about school openings

The classrooms in Baden-Württemberg have been back in business for a week. "That's good!" Say some. "Why only?" Ask the unions on the other hand. Because the opening of the schools at the beginning of the week was a big mistake, criticizes the Association of Education and Upbringing (VBE). "That would have been avoidable," said the Baden-Württemberg VBE state chairman, Gerhard Brand, in Stuttgart on Friday. The Verdi union also points to the wrong time for the restart. "First of all, the requirements for safe teaching should have been met," said the deputy state district manager, Hanna Binder, of the dpa. "That was implemented too quickly and the mask requirement in primary schools was much too late."

After weeks of corona lockdown and home schooling, fifth and sixth graders returned to face-to-face classes on Monday. In addition, the elementary schools had switched from alternating lessons to regular operations. With the exception of the final grades, students from the seventh grade onwards remain in distance learning until after the Easter break. From next Monday, the mask requirement will also apply in elementary schools. At the secondary schools in the fifth and sixth grades and in the final grades, it is already mandatory to wear the mouth and nose cover. So far, only everyday masks are officially prescribed, in practice almost only medical masks are worn.

The Ministry of Education and Culture vehemently contradicts the trade unions. "It was right to enable the children to have more social contacts again and to give them a fixed structure again when they go to school," says a spokesman. In terms of the students' learning progress and social interaction, there is no substitute for face-to-face teaching. Other federal states are already much further ahead than Baden-Württemberg in opening schools.

The VBE is convinced that the state government has ignored the fact that the rampant British mutation is a much more dangerous and aggressive variant in the country. "One should have acted," said state chairman Brand. "The teachers let us know in a survey that they were afraid to teach," he added. The primary schools also lack the staff to divide the classes. «The country's vaccination strategy has turned out to be a disaster. Almost all colleagues show a lack of understanding. " The survey is not representative because of the insufficient number of responses, but it does reflect a clear trend.

The VBE and the Ministry are also at odds on the issue of vaccinations. The association is convinced that teachers should only be allowed to teach if they are adequately protected from the coronavirus. "No school opening without vaccinations," said Brand. "Only those who are vaccinated should teach in the current pandemic situation, everything else is irresponsible."

According to the state, this cannot be legally enforced. "Vaccination against the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus is voluntary in Germany," said the spokesman for the ministry. Employers could neither define nor order them as a requirement.

In Baden-Württemberg, educators and teachers can be vaccinated - regardless of which school they teach at and whether they are already back at the school. However, you will receive the vaccine from Astrazeneca, which has not been injected in the past few days as a precaution.

Unlike the trade unions and many teachers, the education ministries of the federal states are convinced that schools in Germany must be kept open as long as possible. At the same time, teachers in face-to-face classes should be given priority in vaccination. The ministers agreed on this joint position during deliberations in the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK), according to a decision published on Friday.