Saturday, August 7th, 2021
Face-to-face classes after holidays
Funding for air filters partly unused
How are lessons going in schools after the summer vacation? This is a question that worries parents and teachers. Now their representatives are criticizing the school authorities. They wouldn’t have done enough to make classroom teaching possible.
In the opinion of parents and teachers’ representatives, the school authorities bought too few air filters during the holidays to avoid school closings due to the corona virus. When asked whether the municipalities had adequately prepared for autumn and winter, the president of the teachers’ association, Heinz-Peter Meidinger, told the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung” (FAS): “Overall, definitely not.” Many countries are still sitting on part of their grants because the municipalities do not call them off.
It is unclear whether the reason for this is the rural district’s lack of money or “the often advanced indications that the effectiveness of air filters has not yet been adequately tested or proven,” said Meidinger. Sabrina Wetzel, board member of the Federal Parents’ Council, told the newspaper that many parents were “dissatisfied”. They had the impression that those responsible “are not doing enough to ensure classroom teaching when the contagion may rise”. Many parents therefore advocate air filters.
The municipalities are responsible for the purchase, but they are often unable to pay for the equipment out of their own pocket. An air purifier that can be placed in the classroom and does not have to be built into the ceiling costs between 3,000 and 4,000 euros. Most of the federal states therefore set up funding programs. According to the report, some federal states do not support the purchase of mobile air filters, including Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. From Saxony it was said to the newspaper that the devices had been tested. “The result: the costs are disproportionate to the benefits.”
Municipalities and states that have not done anything would often justify themselves by referring to the Federal Environment Agency, reported the “FAS” further. In an assessment from February, the Federal Office had stated that mobile air filters could only be “considered” as an “exceptional case” in rooms that should not actually be used as a classroom due to poor ventilation. At the beginning of July, the office changed its assessment. Mobile air filters are now classified as “sensible” for all rooms that cannot be adequately ventilated. According to the Federal Environment Agency, this affects 15 to 25 percent of the classrooms.