According to federal-state resolutions: dealing with schools not finally clarified

According to federal-state resolutions
Dealing with schools not finally clarified

What else can children and parents be expected to do in the pandemic? The Chancellor and the Prime Ministers discussed this for a long time. Even after the agreement, there seem to be different views.

The people in Germany need patience in the corona pandemic: The federal and state governments have extended the lockdown to mid-February out of concern about the virus mutation. Schools and daycare centers should also remain closed until then, according to the decision made on Tuesday evening. But there were indications that the countries will implement this controversial decision differently.

In the evening, Baden-W├╝rttemberg's Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann announced that elementary schools and daycare centers would probably be gradually and carefully reopened from February 1st – "if the infection situation permits". Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, on the other hand, sharpened schools and daycare centers: in two districts with higher numbers of infections, they are only allowed to open up for emergency care.

The federal and state governments had passionately discussed how to deal with schools in the hour-long meeting. Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the negotiation was shaped by the question of what one could expect parents and children to do. Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek told the editorial network Germany: "Keeping schools and daycare centers almost completely closed is certainly one of the toughest political decisions at the beginning of this year." But it is necessary in view of the development of the pandemic. Federal Family Minister Franziska Giffey called for clear perspectives for children and parents. "As soon as the infection process allows, childcare offers must then be the first to open again," said the SPD politician in the newspapers of the Funke media group. The President of the German Teachers' Association, Heinz-Peter Meidinger, told the "Augsburger Allgemeine" that he hoped that "the big entry will be successful again" at schools in mid-February. The association supports the decision of the federal and state governments to keep the facilities largely closed until February 14th.

The beginning of the tightening is not regulated uniformly

In the federal-state talks, some rules were tightened. Better protective FFP2 masks or surgical masks must be worn on buses and trains as well as when shopping – everyday masks made of fabric are no longer sufficient. The federal states themselves decide when the new rules apply. Several state governments will discuss this on Wednesday.

Stricter rules are also provided in the workplace. Employers must allow work from home if that is possible. Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil urged employees and companies to make massive use of the new home office options. At the same time, the SPD politician warned employers in "Bild live" not to arbitrarily cancel the option to work from home and announced controls. The left welcomed the obligation to work from home, but chairwoman Katja Kipping noted that this should have come much earlier.

Merkel does not rule out border controls

The SPD leaders Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans welcomed the federal-state resolutions. People are increasingly weary from the restrictions in the private sphere. It is therefore right not to make any further restrictions here, said Esken. "Instead, we should focus on working life and allow and use home office wherever possible." SPD health politician Karl Lauterbach warned the federal states to implement the Corona resolutions. "The decisions are correct without any ifs or buts," he told "t-online". "But they only work if they are also controlled and implemented by the federal states."

Merkel said the mutation probably makes the virus much more contagious. "To a certain extent, there is still time to contain all the danger." But action must be taken now, otherwise the number of infections could rapidly rise sharply. It is about provisions for the country and the citizens, but also for the economy and the world of work. In the worst case, the Chancellor did not rule out new border controls. "We don't want that, we want to come to an agreement in partnership with our neighbors," she emphasized. "But we cannot see that the entry simply comes because other countries are going completely different ways," she said, referring to the way the pandemic is dealt with.

The Greens health expert Janosch Dahmen criticized too indecisive action in the race against the virus mutations. "The old measures with a few additions are not sufficient against the new threat situation". Rapid tests for personal use would be an important addition. FDP vice-president Wolfgang Kubicki accused Merkel of making an incomprehensible policy. Since the end of October, people have only been hearing slogans for perseverance that easing will come "in a few weeks," he told the watson Internet portal. Merkel wants to push through the path that "cost what it may" once it has taken.